The Waterfront Pub & Bar, located at the picturesque Barton Marina in Staffordshire, is on track to significantly reduce its energy bill and cut its annual carbon emissions by approximately 10 tonnes following the installation of a SolarEdge rooftop solar PV system. Originally, a six year return on investment (ROI) period had been forecast for this project. However, based on the performance of the system, this has since been reduced to five years. Further, the owners have taken the decision to install additional SolarEdge solutions on the Marina Office & Café.
Built in 2007 using largely reclaimed materials, The Waterfront Pub & Bar resembles a Victorian canal-side warehouse and is designed to accommodate up to three hundred customers for al fresco dining. Powered 100% by electricity, the site’s high energy usage was exacerbated by increasing energy prices. The owners needed a PV system that would contribute the greatest savings to their electricity costs and remain visually pleasing to visitors.
Solar PV installer, Kembla, designed a 40.5kWp system to make the most of the available roof space and deliver the maximum output and energy savings. The system comprises ninety 450W solar modules, upgraded to smart modules with SolarEdge Power Optimizers, and a SolarEdge 33.3kW Three Phase Inverter.
Declan Adams, Managing Director, Kembla Limited, says: “In pubs, hotels and restaurants, outdoor spaces are key to the customer experience. So, when a location demands maximum output power from a PV system in a setting that needs to retain the visual impact of the building’s exterior, module placement roof space utilisation becomes a priority. The SolarEdge system maximises energy generation throughout its lifetime for increased savings, and with greater flexibility in PV layout, systems can be designed to be more in keeping with the style and shape of the roof.”
SolarEdge Power Optimizers are installed underneath each pair of modules to maximise the performance of each module in the system individually. This ensures that, unlike traditional string inverter systems, should the performance of some modules be impaired, for example due to shading or soiling, the rest of the system will continue to produce the maximum amount of energy.
The SolarEdge solution also enables much greater flexibility when it comes to laying out the roof space. In a traditional string inverter system, module placement is limited by the need for equal string lengths, as well as maintaining the same tilt of each module. In the SolarEdge system, no such restrictions apply, allowing the layout of the modules to adapt optimally to the roof shape and design to generate more power.
With the owners of The Waterfront keen to minimise operation and maintenance costs, a SolarEdge energy meter was added to the system to provide full visibility of the PV performance. Kembla is able to monitor the system remotely via the SolarEdge Monitoring Platform. With fault detection right down to module level and with system alerts set up, the installer can pin-point accurately any issues and resolve them quickly to minimise its time on site and maximise system uptime.
Ensuring the safety of customers and staff was another crucial consideration for the owners of The Waterfront. The SolarEdge solution includes several advanced built-in safety features such as SafeDC™ and arc fault detection. SolarEdge SafeDC is designed to automatically power down the solar array to a touch-safe 1V whenever the inverter or grid is shut down, protecting the property as well as installers, electricians and emergency responders. Arc fault detection and interruption are not required by UK regulations but are commonly requested by insurance companies. SolarEdge inverters include this safeguard which is designed to mitigate the effects of some arcing faults that may pose a fire risk.
Steve Rainsford, Barton Marina’s Site Manager, concludes: “Our focus was very much on achieving long-term cost savings while also retaining the aesthetics of the pub. We are very pleased to be taking another step forward to making the site more sustainable with a PV system that makes the most of our roof space and allows us to see exactly how much energy we are generating and using every day, month and year.”