A system to suit your needs.
With each new site we visit, we encounter new challenges and no matter how many difficulties we encounter, there is always a design solution.

System design

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Before we can design your renewable energy system, we need to collect vital information. This is completed at the Site Visit and Feasibility stages. By asking you a series of questions and visually inspecting the site, we can gather the majority of the necessary information.

Further evaluation can then be completed in the office before we complete your design. The full evaluation and design are completed in house by our experienced team allowing us to provide a quick turn around.

With each new site we visit, we encounter new challenges and no matter how many difficulties we encounter, there is always a design solution.

A well designed system can deliver high yields of energy year on year and will work in harmony with the day to day energy usage at your property. Careful evaluation of your energy requirements in the initial stages will pay dividend in the long run. This coupled with correct site choice and the efficient layout of all system components will maximize the potential of your Wind Turbine or Solar PV system.

With each new site we visit, we encounter a variety of different site criteria, meaning no two systems are ever designed the same. We work from scratch with each project we undertake, making your system bespoke and relevant to you and your specific needs.

Solar PV

Whether your roof is flat or pitched, tiled or corrugated or if you are looking at a ground mounted array to utilise spare land, we will consider a wide range of factors, allowing us to advise you on the best mountings and overall design.

During the site visit, we will collect photos, measurements and other key information so we can consider the weight implications of the array to any roofs, fixing requirements for different ground types and we will look into planning implications. We will quantify the number of panels that can be installed and we also look carefully at the quality of the roof, making sure it is in good condition, advising if it’s not.

Solar PV benefits from permitted development, so in many cases the only third party permissions will be sought via the local Distribution network Operator (DNO) in order to discover any cost implications when connecting into the national grid.

This can affect the design of the system and may require us to explore ways around any prohibitive costs.

Once we have covered the above, we can then look at the best system in terms of PV panels, Inverters and infrastructure layout. We will also look at the best system layout that fits with the overall aesthetics of the building.

Pitched roofs

A pitched roof system is the most common that we encounter across both domestic and commercial systems. Each roof type will require slightly different mounting equipment, but fundamentally the mountings will comprise of roof hooks, clamps and rails. Where possible we will always look to fit the panels in portrait, as this requires less rails, keeping costs to a minimum.

In some situations where this is not possible, we will use a cross rail system, which is a set of rails running across the roof, with a second set running vertically across the first set. This all relates to fixing the panels to the roof along the long edge of the panel, providing more structural stability to the system.

Flat roofs

Flat roofs require more thought and usually requires one of two types of frame to fix the panels to the roof, either a console or an aluminium frame system. Both options will be pitched to allow for the best capture of sunlight, whilst retaining an aerodynamic shape to prevent any movement.

The console is usually a recycled plastic tub, which is then filled with ballast to hold it in place. The second alternative is the aluminium frame system, which will usually be weighted down using either sand bags or concrete weights.

It is very rare that we would penetrate the roof structure on a flat roof, as water ingress is more likely. We also need to look carefully at the loading factor of the roof to make sure that the roof can withstand the added weight.

Ground Mounted

A ground mounted system can be favourable for a number of reasons and is a popular choice for larger scale systems. If you don’t have a suitable roof space where you can mount a solar PV array, then a ground mounted system offers a great solution.

The key benefits of a ground mounted system are; the optimum pitch can be chosen for your geographical location, the system can be orientated facing directly south and maintenance and cleaning can be carried out with ease and reduced cost.

In many situations the land can be of a poor quality and installing a ground mounted solar PV system will provide a better income for the land owner/occupier.

Metal

A metal roof installation is probably the most cost effective of all solar PV systems. The main reasons for this are, the reduced number of fixings required to hold the panels securely to the roof and the speed at which the installation can be completed.

We usually use a simple fixing system comprising of small fixing plates, secured with tech screws (self drilling/tapping), which have rubber seals to prevent any water ingress. We then place each panel in position, which is in turn securely fixed in position using 4 clamps per panel.

As there are no rails required costs are significantly reduced and the system will maintain a low profile to the roof, significantly reducing any visual impact.

Tile and slate

Tile and slate roofs are most commonly associated with domestic premises. From time to time we do encounter commercial properties with tile or slate but this is less common. Regardless of size, we would use the same system design for installation.

Typically we would use a roof hook and rail system to fix the panels securely to the roof. After assessing the wind loading affects on the roof by adding the solar PV array, we would calculate the correct number of roof fixings into the design. Roof hooks are usually spaced at approximately 1.2m centres, with double the amount around the edge of the array but this can vary.

In preparation, the necessary tiles or slates will be removed to expose the rafters and all hooks will be fixed in position. Cuts will be made to the tiles or slate so that they can be repositioned to overlap the roof hook, hiding most of the hook.

The aluminium bars are then fixed to the roof hooks using the specially designed locking system. The panels are then overlaid and fixed tightly in position using mid and end clamps.

Wind Turbines

The design of a wind turbine system is generally more complex than a solar PV system, with a number of different criteria being assessed. As part of the Feasibility Report that we complete in the initial stages of any project, we will present the proposed layout of your wind turbine system. This will usually comprise of three main areas; one is the chosen wind turbine location(s), two is the proposed route for the Steel Wire Armoured (SWA) cable and three is the chosen location for the inverter(s).

We will have discussed the scale, the number of wind turbines and the best layout, comparing this with the financial aspect of the project within the Feasibility Report.

Each design of a wind turbine system will be completed partly in the field by one of our energy assessors, during the Site Survey stage and partly back in the office. The chosen location of the turbine is the most critical part of each wind project, as a badly sited turbine won’t capture any available wind resources.

Once a good location has been chosen to site the wind turbine, the most cost effective cable route can be chosen. This will be; directly back to the main incoming supply, into a suitable distribution point within the property or directly back into the national grid.

The logistics of installing any cables must be considered and longer cable runs can sometimes be more financially viable, if the ground is hard to dig in or there are too many obstacles to navigate around. A decision between burying the cable or cleating it to a wall must be made and we often end up doing both.

The inverters and switchgear are industrial looking items and a suitable location to mount the equipment must be chosen. These items are normally located in a garage, barn or utility room, where the visual impact will be negligible.

Depending on the size of the turbine and model, we must carefully select the appropriate foundation type for the project. Our design team will make this selection in the early stages by looking at the substrate where the foundation will be dug. This will include looking at the substrate type, drainage and whether or not the land is virgin or non virgin.

Another consideration to make are the size of cable that is required. Looking at the distance from the wind turbine(s) back to the inverter(s) and from the inverter(s) back to the grid supply. A 4% volts drop is allowed from the turbine(s) back to the inverter(s) and 1% volts drop from the inverter(s) back to the grid supply.

Once the installation logistics and design have been completed, the information can be used to submit a comprehensive planning application to the local authority. An application will also be made to the local (DNO) if required, asking for permission to connect back onto the national grid. This process is the same for both wind and solar applications with only minor differences between the two.

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