Rob’s solar and storage installation experience

Have you ever thought about getting solar and battery storage for your home, but first you’d like to hear what the whole experience is like from beginning to end, from another customer? Well, now you absolutely can!

We’ve been chatting with Rob, who recently decided to invest in solar and storage for his home, to generate his own electricity from the sun, and have the ability to store it for use when he needs it the most. He’ll also make power cuts a thing of the past.

The kit

Rob’s solar and storage system includes 8 SunPower Maxeon 3 430W panels, a Solis 3kW string inverter, bird mesh, and a Tesla Powerwall 2 with Backup Gateway.

The questions and answers

What were Rob’s motivations for getting home solar and storage in the first place? Why did he choose Joju? What was the solar and storage design and installation process like, and how much is Rob’s system generating?

You can find out the answers to all these questions and more by listening to Rob chat about his solar and storage design and installation experience, right here:

Discover more about solar and storage for your home

Check out our solar and storage home case studies

Chat with us, or enquire about getting solar and storage for your home.

Solar and Storage at the University of Wales Trinity St David

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) declared a climate emergency in 2019 and is dedicated to creating a community which supports sustainability through social, economic, cultural, and environmental responsibility.

Sustainable development is one of the University’s values, with staff and students working together to have “a positive impact on people, communities and the planet”. This multi-campus centre of learning holds Level 5 of the Green Dragon Environmental Standard and there has also been significant financial investment in solar and storage so the University can generate its own clean, green energy. To this end, Joju Solar has been working on bringing solar and battery storage to two buildings on the Swansea campus, changing the way the buildings generate and store power.

It takes two…

On the College of Art’s Dynevor building, at the heart of the city’s arts quarter, we’ve installed a 130kWh Pixii battery alongside 150 kWp of PV, using Canadian Solar 380Wp panels and a Solis inverter.

We’ve also installed a 42kWh Victron battery with 80 kWp of solar on the Technium 2 building at the Swansea campus. Again, we used Canadian Solar 380Wp panels and a Solis inverter.

In terms of selecting the kit, half hourly data was used to specify batteries that best matched the excess generation of the PV systems. The panels and inverters were chosen based on a mix of quality and cost.

Battery benefits

The solar PV generates electricity which can either be used immediately, or stored in the battery for when the buildings need it the most. There’s a mixed level of demand in both buildings as being a base of education, the buildings aren’t as well-populated over the weekend. It therefore makes sense to store the self-generated energy during those periods for use when footfall is greater.

Savings to celebrate

The systems will contribute Co2 savings of approximately 41.5 tonnes a year, supporting the University’s climate commitments. There will also be significant financial savings across both buildings. These are estimated at around £37,000 a year on the basis of a 22p per unit electricity price and the systems generating around 200,000 kwh a year with the batteries using 85% of that.

And there’s more…

We’ve also installed 22.8kWp of solar on a third building, Technium 1. With sixty 380Wp panels and a Solis inverter, the system is estimated to save 4.44 tonnes of Co2 a year. .

 Ed Baughan, Joju’s Head of Commercial Solar said:

“Our team is delighted to work with UWTSD to help them realise their sustainability ambitions. At the heart of everything we do is our mission of cutting carbon, so it’s great to install the technology that helps the university reduce its carbon footprint and create greater energy self-sufficiency, whilst making financial savings too”.   

A sustainability hero

 When it comes to its students, UWTSD encourages everyone to “Become the hero of your own story” by “creating the education experience you’ve always wanted”. By making a real commitment to cutting carbon, the university is becoming the hero of its own sustainability story too – taking positive strides towards a green future and leading by example.

Joju is proud to be working with UWTSD and we relish the supporting role we’re able to play in their story of environmental responsibility.

Further reading

Joju Solar installation on Bridport Leisure Centre

Swimming with Solar – Bridport Leisure Centre

Let’s talk installing solar on Leisure Centres… in particular, in Bridport.

Bridport Leisure Centre is a non-profit making, busy, community recreational hub, offering a wide range of activities for local people. These include a swimming pool, fitness classes, gym, squash, sports hall, yoga and kids activities.

How is it all powered? Well, the Centre was keen to explore having solar to help generate the energy required. This way, they could save on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time. We were only too pleased to help make this happen, of course.

Community-funded, community-owned

Initially, our Joju team created designs and costings for the site. Following funding discussions, we brought our good friends and colleagues at Energy 4 All on board. They look at how much power the system is going to generate and how much of it will be used on site by the Leisure Centre. Then, with funds from local community investors purchasing shares in the system, they pay for the project in its entirety. They maintain it, and buy the electricity that’s produced and consumed on site, at an agreed rate. The ownership of the system is then in the hands of local people, for the benefit of the local community.

On the roofs…

The installation took our Joju Solar team just under two weeks to complete, and all whilst keeping the Centre fully operational. That’s something we pride ourselves on and we know just how important it is to make sure any potentially disruptive work is carried out ‘out of hours’.

We installed 184 Canadian Solar 410W panels in total, and the install is actually split into two systems. 147 of the panels make up a system of just over 60 kWp. That’s on the main roof, above the swimming pool… hence our Swimming with solar headline! The smaller system of 37 panels, just over 15kWp, is on the rugby clubhouse roof.

The savings

Estimated CO2 savings work out at approx. 15.73 tonnes per year, with an annual estimated generation of 61,535 kWh, which will really help to power community wellbeing.

The reaction

The team at Bridport & West Dorset Sports Trust Ltd, and at the Centre itself, is really happy with the install and how the panels are looking.

The overall aim of the organisation is to enhance the quality of life for the community, and the solar install certainly contributes to the ongoing fulfilment of that aim – from a clean air and sustainability point of view.

Discover more about solar on Leisure Centres

  • Read about the Swimming Pool Support Fund in our blog.
  • Find out more about community energy and potential funding for your Leisure Centre project.
  • Read our Xcel Leisure Centre case study, for more about another public sector Leisure Centre installation.

Excelling in reducing carbon – Xcel Leisure Centre

Elmbridge Borough Council has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030 and one of their key actions is to cut the carbon output from their buildings. To achieve this, we’ve worked with the council on a variety of projects including installing solar at Centres for the Community in Walton, Cobham, Claygate, Molesey, and Hersham. We’ve installed solar at Hersham Village Hall, and we’ve also created a solar car port at the Civic Centre in Esher.
Following this, we were delighted to be selected to design and install the solar array on the roof of the council-owned Xcel Leisure Complex in Walton-on-Thames as well.

The approach

Places Leisure run the Xcel Complex, The Sports Hub and Hurst Pool. It’s a vibrant space with swimming, gym, and climbing facilities on offer. There’s a sports hall, studio, squash courts, sauna and steam room, soft play area and café on site too, so of course it was essential that the Complex was open as normal throughout the installation. Our approach is always to make sure buildings stay open, and that was the case throughout the three-week install. When we did need to shut down the power, we worked out of hours so that normal opening hours for the Centre were not affected.

The kit, carbon reductions, and energy savings

Every leisure centre user brings their kit to the Complex and we were no different… although our kit was panels, a mounting system, and inverters, rather than exercise gear, sports shoes, and swimming costumes!

We installed 973 JA solar panels on the roof, using a Sun Fixings mounting system and Solis inverters – and the results have been fantastic. Since the system has been installed in May 2023, the electrical consumption on site has been reduced by over 36%, which will lead to an estimated CO2 saving of over 75 tonnes per year.

The reaction

Councillor David Young, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, said how thrilled he is that Elmbridge is another step closer to achieving its carbon neutral pledge:

“The installation of these solar panels and the reduction in electrical consumption at the Xcel Leisure Complex further reinforces our commitment to climate change. This shows that with collective commitment and determination, we can deliver on our pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.”

Daniel Walker, Business Development Director at Places Leisure is a proud partner in the solar panel installation too:

“Working with Elmbridge, we are committed to improving the sustainability of the Xcel. Through the new partnership contract, both Places Leisure and Elmbridge Borough Council, will invest in more energy efficient infrastructure, including new heating systems, hydrogen ready boilers, LED lighting and electric car charging bays. Collectively we will provide more sustainable leisure facilities in Elmbridge.”

The Council team also commented on our working partnership:

“Joju have worked efficiently and collaboratively with all stakeholders involved in the project and they are always on hand to provide professional advice”.

Our Head of Commercial Solar, Edward Baughn, couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome too:

“We’re proud to have designed and installed the solar array on the Xcel, helping Elmbridge Borough Council reduce the carbon output on its buildings. We can’t wait to see more savings being made and supporting the Council with their overall sustainability ambitions”.

All in all, it’s great to know that solar energy is contributing to the operation of a Complex where members spend their own energy improving their health and wellbeing – and that the wellbeing of the whole area is being improved by the reduction in carbon.

Goals well and truly achieved!

Further information

Head here for more about rooftop solar

Discover more about our public sector work

Read more of our case studies

Stuart’s two-staged install

Stuart first got in touch with us back in 2021. He already had an EV charge point and wanted to get the full package for his home. He decided it was time for solar and a battery, so he could generate power and save any excess for when the house needed it.

A waiting game

Due to Tesla Powerwall supply timescales over the last year, we’ve often had to be flexible and take a different approach, splitting installations into two stages… installing solar panels and Powerwall’s separately, depending on kit availability. That’s exactly what happened with Stuart’s project.

Panels first, then Powerwall joins the party!

We installed the solar panels first, earlier this year, so that Stuart could instantly have the benefit of onsite generation without having to wait for the Powerwall. We stripped all the tiles back and installed 20 Sunpower 400 Wp panels, the aesthetically pleasing GSE in-roof mounting system, and an 8.2 kW Fronius inverter.

At the same time, we installed the Tesla Gateway – the control unit for the Powerwall, which helps it disconnect from the grid in a power cut. The Gateway would have to wait a short while to be joined by its partner in power storage, but after six months it was time for the Powerwall battery to take its rightful place!

A happy ending

Some installs are simple. Some have challenges along the way. In Stuart’s case stock was the challenge, but with patience and understanding on Stuart’s side and a flexible approach on ours, we have a very happy customer with a full set of kit, generating and storing clean energy for use exactly when the family needs it.

Discover more

Learn about solar panels for your home and how we choose them

How does a home battery work? Read our explanation

Why’s the Powerwall so popular? Head here to find out

Andy’s heavyweight investment

Our customer, Andy Smith, wanted to be more energy self-sufficient with solar, make financial savings, and he had the fields in which to do it! So, earlier this year we took a trip out to the countryside to see what kind of system might work best for him.

On the ground

Having surveyed the site and chatted with Andy, we selected a ground mount system on a Renusol mounting bay, to give us total flexibly on the location of the install, and because it’s relatively quick to lay down. This is where the first part of the ‘heavyweight’ install comes in too, because the plastic moulded frames aren’t fixed. Instead, they’re weighted down with ballast blocks – 3 tons of them in this case, once we’d completed the calculation. That’s basically 174 breeze blocks we moved into Andy’s field… by hand. It took a little bit of time as you can imagine!

Add to that, 35, 385-watt Qcells panels, totalling 13.475 kWp of solar.

We made this choice because the panel is a good all-rounder, solid, with a great balance of aesthetics and performance. Andy’s were the G9 plus versions too, which came with a 25-year warranty.

Making the connection

To connect everything up, we trenched cable from Andy’s chosen field, underground, and back to the garage where the electrics were situated. Andy had previously installed a conduit system with a rope pulley, so we were able to pull the cables from the field, and it’s a brilliant way to hide a pretty large cable. We also fitted a 12kW three-phase Solis inverter.

A little request

One request was that we spaced the array so that Andy could get his lawnmower between the rows, and we were only too happy to help – always thinking practically. Of course, as the cables are sealed underground, sheep can still graze in between the panels too.

Savings on all fronts

As there are also kennels on site, there’s relatively high-powered usage and that leads us to the final reason you could call this a heavyweight investment. It’s down to the savings Andy makes and the export payments he receives. As Andy’s exporting on all three phases, he gets significant export payments, and the investment made has definitely put the smile of champions on his face!

As Andy tells us:

“The Renusol mounting was definitely the right solution for us, and my spreadsheet tells me that so far, the panels have saved me about £1,090 – about half on electricity that I haven’t had to import, and about half on energy I’ve exported. I know it won’t be like this in Winter, but I think I may well get back the installation cost over four years or less. One of the best investments I have made – thanks”.

Saving money and helping to save the planet… it’s what we’re all about.

Discover more

Find out more about solar PV and choosing the right system

Read more about how we can help your home turn green

Read more of our residential case studies

Powering 1,900 seats – Wales Millennium Centre

Wales Millennium Centre wanted to find a way to produce enough energy themselves, to power a 1,900-seat auditorium. Located at the heart of the regenerated Cardiff Bay, the Centre is the national arts centre of Wales and from the moment it first opened its doors in 2004, the team were very keen to lead from the front when it came to demonstrating its sustainable credentials… step forward solar!

The installation

We were delighted to help realise the most recent stage of this ambition, by installing 720 345W JA solar modules and 4 Solis inverters on 6 of its south-facing roof spaces.

The roof space itself is made up of five smaller flat roofs and one larger metal seam roof, so we used a mix of Van der Valk mounting systems too, with a non-penetrative clamping over the metal seam roof – and to give you an indication of scale, we needed a crane for two days to lift everything on to the roof for the project!

Facts and figures

And it’s all worth it. Solar power will produce around 10% of the electrical energy that the Centre uses each year (based on pre covid figures of 2019) and the predicted annual generation of 192,922 kW hours is more than enough to power its stage activities (including the heating and cooling of the auditorium) for each year, over the next 25 years.

A commitment realised…

David Bonney, Building Conservation and Engineering Manager at Wales Millennium Centre said:

“As an iconic building in the Welsh capital, it is important to us that we promote our sustainable credentials and demonstrate our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.  Teaming up with Joju Solar has allowed the Centre to achieve this ambition. Despite large cranes being present at both the front and rear of the Centre to achieve the lift of equipment to the various roof spaces, the impact was minimal meaning it was ‘business as usual’ throughout the process. 

 The project has presented both Wales Millennium Centre and Joju with some challenges, but working together the teams have increased, and improved, the Centre’s environmental performance and has delivered a first-class result. Employing a preventative approach to environmental concerns is imperative to the Centre, ensuring our ongoing commitment to creating a cleaner, greener outlook for the future generations of Wales.”

Now that’s what we call a curtain raiser!

It looks stunning too, and we have absolutely loved working with Wales Millennium Centre, David and the team, to design and install the solar solution on this iconic building.

 

DISCOVER MORE 

Find out more about our commercial solar PV projects

Learn more about solar panels and how we choose them

Discover more about sustainability at Wales Millennium Centre

Beautiful and powerful – Mike’s new build home

Our customer, Mike, originally contacted us with architects plans for a new build house. He wanted the house to be highly energy efficient… generating its own power without this negatively impacting on the character and aesthetic of his soon-to-be-built home.

Back to black 

We loved working with Mike to bring this vision to life and as solar tiles weren’t widely available at the time of install, and there were technical constraints with the products too, we specified all black solar panels built into the roof.

The all black panels have a black frame, black mono crystalline cells, and a black back-sheet with a neat finish, blending particularly well with dark slate and whilst there is a slight additional cost when compared to traditional on-roof solar, savings are made by not having to install slates and tiles where the panels are located.

We worked with Mike’s main contractor and roofer to complete this solar installation and in terms of the look for Mike’s new home, the panels worked perfectly.

As Mike says,

“We selected the black panels largely for the aesthetics and, given that we were building a new house, it made no sense to put a roof covering on and then put the panels on top… may as well make the panels be the roof covering. It integrates with the house much better”.

Never a truer word, we say!

Panel power

Well, the aesthetic is certainly attractive, but what about the solar generation?

As Mike tells us,

“We can get over 30kWh on really sunny days.  In 2021 to date, we have had 3253hWh. We have battery storage now too and our electricity bill is less than £50 per month, which isn’t bad for an electric only house and two electric cars”.

Not bad indeed!

A great experience

Here’s to architecture that not only looks beautiful, but that also definitely generates the power and here’s to a great solar installation experience all round. Jon, our Head of Residential Solar, led the project and as Mike says,

“It was a really good experience, easy, and Jon was great. He did what he said, when he said he would”.

We can’t say fairer than that!

Find out more

Check out some of our other residential case studies here

Discover how to get the most from your solar

What’s the best solar panel? Here’s our view

S Georges' SPorts Centre, Scott Brown Rigg, Architects

St George’s College Iconic Solar Sports Hall

St George’s is an independent mixed Roman Catholic co-educational day school in Weybridge Surrey. The school have recently constructed a new Sports Hall for the school as their existing sports hall was only sized for 500 students (all boys).  The new sport hall now caters for over 1000 pupils (both boys and girls) over a wide range of sporting activities.

The new hall is a flagship architectural building, designed by Scott Brown Rigg Architects, with many unique design features that required careful integration of the solar PV.

The structure of the building is made from curved glulam columns and roof beams, which support a plywood deck.  Above the roof sites 150mm insulation, finished with a Sika Sarnafil single-ply roof membrane.  The roof is curved in two directions much like the Olympic Park velodrome, and also features diamond-shaped roof ventilation towers.

Careful Integration of Solar

As such, the design needed to account for the following sensitivities:

  1. As a high-end architectural project, aesthetics were paramount to the client.
  2. The installation mounting system needed to work with the curved surface of the roof.
  3. We needed to avoid shade from the ventilation towers.
  4. The chosen system needed to be lightweight so as not to compress the insulation, or led to puddling of water
  5. The system needed to be non-penetrative
  6. We needed to install sufficient solar PV to meet overall building CO2 targets.

The building carbon targets implied the building had a target of 32kWp of solar PV to generate 29,688kWh of electricity per year.  To meet this brief, we installed a system of 119 JA Solar 270W modules, connected to a single Solis 30kW inverter.

 

Sika SSM1 mounting system

Joju Solar are the solar energy partners of Sika Sarnafil who manufactured the roof membrane system.  Working closely with them and the main roofing contractors, Malone Roofing, we designed and delivered what we to believe to be a prime example of sensitive architectural integration of a commercial solar PV roof.

The chosen mounting system was the Sika Solar Mount SSM1, which offers several unique features, ideal for this project.  The mounting system consists of plastic triangular frames pitched at 15 degrees.  These frames use rubber fixing flaps, that sit over the frames which are then rubber-welded directly to the roof membrane.  Because the frames are bonded to the roof surface, the system is ballast-free, and therefore very lightweight.  This not only simplifies construction but helps from a structural engineering point of view, especially in case such as this where the span of the roof is large.  It also prevents compression of the insulation layer and puddling of water on the roof.

Uniquely, the mounting system and the roof membrane itself are covered under a single point warranty.  As Sam Rogan, Sika Sarnafil Technical Advisor explains: “The SikaSolar system offers a low profile panel with high output,  that is fully compatible with Sarnafil single ply roofing membranes”.  This avoids any potential conflict between the multiple contractors on-site, as there is a single holder of risk and responsibility.

Primarily designed for flat roofs, the SSM1 is limited to being installed on roofs of less than a 10-degree pitch.  We therefore restricted our array to those unshaded areas of the roof that met this design requirement.  The area chosen was such that optimisers were not required and the system could be strung on a single 30kW inverter.

As a further step to enhance the aesthetics of the installation, the DC cable routes were laid in channels cut into the insulation membrane, which were then covered with the main roofing membrane.  This removed the need for an unsightly cable tray running across the roof and preserved the clean aesthetics of the building.

 

(Images 1&3 courtesy of Scott Brown Rigg Architects)

Find Out More

  • Our PV design team is on hand to help you realise the solar part of any new build project, large or small
  • We have even integrated a bespoke solar PV array into the roof of Salisbury Cathedral
  • Solar schools like St George’s are a speciality of ours – find out more about the hundreds of solar schools we’ve already built
Oxford Brookes, Sunset, Solar PAnels, Salix Finance

A Hub of High Efficiency at Oxford Brookes University

Oxford Brookes is one of the UK’s leading modern universities with an international reputation for teaching innovation and excellence. They are also in the top tier of universities leading the way when it comes to limiting their effect on the environment*. Their 35% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005, already puts the university ahead of its 2025 target of a 34% reduction, but this hasn’t stopped Oxford Brookes wanting to push on and do more – to continue to reduce its environmental impact and create a student campus that truly supports sustainability, as well as inspiring students to significantly reduce wasted energy use and carbon emissions.

 

Funding and Fusion 21

When Oxford Brookes learned they could secure renawable energy project funding through Salix Finance (interest-free funding for the public sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills), the university was keen to increase its existing solar PV capacity and looked into procurement routes to find the perfect solar PV partner.

They discovered Joju Solar through the Fusion 21 public sector procurement framework and after surveying the university site, we helped to identify five more suitable buildings for solar PV – designing and procuring the best possible system within Salix funding parameters. The project couldn’t cost more than £222 per tonne of carbon saved (over the lifetime of the project), with a project payback of 8 years.

 

A greater yield with SunPower

As Oxford Brookes University was committed to generating as much as possible in the available space, to “do more with less” and get the most value from existing building spaces, we used high efficiency SunPower modules on the Buckley Building, John Payne Building, Lloyd Building, Sinclair Building and the International Centre.

Although rare for a commercial solar panel installation project, these state-of-the-art panels gave Oxford Brookes greater output per square metre of roof space, adding just under 300kWp and doubling their solar PV capacity. From a cost perspective, this approach still worked within the Salix Finance funding model, so it was a winner all round!

Despite the installation being initially postponed due to Covid19, the 700 solar panels were installed in November 2020 and it was an absolute pleasure working with Oxford Brookes University to extend their visible commitment to a low carbon future by creating a high efficiency array – generating 224,912kWh per year, with a 57 tonnes CO2 saving.

 

Discover more

  • We love working in the education sector and Solar schools is one of our specialities.  We can deliver fully funded installations across your school or university estate, so do find out more about our solar for schools and education
  • Discover more about Solar PV and how we can help you.
  • SunPower modules are the state of the art – offering efficiencies of more than 23%.