Egni Coop and Joju Solar have developed and installed the most ambitious community solar scheme in Wales, including the largest single community solar rooftop at Newport’s Geraint Thomas velodrome. It’s quite a story – here’s how we did it.
Egni Coop and Joju Solar have developed and installed the most ambitious community solar scheme in Wales, including the largest single community solar rooftop at Newport’s Geraint Thomas velodrome. It’s quite a story – here’s how we did it.
How did a small local community energy group end up building one of the most iconic renewable energy projects in the UK? Well, it turns out dedication, perseverance, and a little good fortune are all you need.
Salisbury Community Energy is a relatively new community energy group. They were formed in 2017 by a group of Salisbury residents who were trying to address climate change within their local area. Director Caroline Lanyon explains “When we started we had a simple question: how can we get more renewable energy in Salisbury?”
In their early years, Salisbury Community Energy looked at a wide range of possible projects, and all possible renewable energy technologies. They finally settled on developing a solar power portfolio, as potential hydropower schemes on rivers in the City looked complex due to Environment Agency concerns about the flood plain, and potential opposition from local anglers.
The group started scoping out a portfolio of solar PV projects in Salisbury, mainly on local schools, but with other large community buildings also considered.
Almost inevitably, someone suggested that the group should approach Salisbury Cathedral about the possibility of installing solar panels there. However, the group didn’t expect much of a response. “Local environmental groups had been pushing for the development of a solar array on the Cathedral since the 1990s”, said Caroline “But they’d always been refused”.
But as a new group, Salisbury Community Energy thought it was worth a shot, and they decided to try the door one last time. To their surprise, it opened!
Canon Treasurer Robert Titley from Salisbury Cathedral was instrumental in making the scheme happen. As a local community group, Salisbury Community Energy found a receptive ear as Robert was already implementing a range of green initiatives across the Cathedral, including draft-proofing the medieval building, moving to a green tariff energy and installing LED lighting. His faith and environmental vision went hand in hand. “We are called to preach good news, and through this we are taking another small step toward being good news for God’s earth and not just part of the problem”. Solar panels were an obvious next step, and the idea of a high-profile project appealed. “It’s important to send a message to the rest of the city”, he added.
At around the same time, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury was appointed the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment. He has recently signed a letter to the Government asking for the environment to be part of its post-COVID-19 plans. He was naturally fully supportive of the idea of putting solar panels on the Cathedral.
However, before the project could happen, the proposal needed to pass through ecclesiastical planning. Town planning rules cover development on most churches and local council planning departments adjudicate on them. But as a Cathedral, especially a unique historical one, the proposals had to pass the scrutiny of church bodies instead. As one might imagine, it is not an easy process to pass through the many internal committees. They are very stringent, and rightly so – they do, after all, have a duty to protect these buildings of national importance.
Eventually, the scheme was approved, subject to specific design criteria being met:
But just as the project was gaining traction – a new hurdle appeared. The Government planned to remove feed-in tariffs in April 2019, leaving just months to get this project, and other schools in the portfolio pre-accredited.
Salisbury Community Energy approached Energy4All’s Schools’ Energy Coop for advice. They had years of experience in pre-accrediting community energy sites. They agreed to help with early project development stages, such as gaining EPC certificates. They also managed the financial raise for the scheme when it went eventually ahead.
And this is where Joju Solar joined the team! As the long-term installation partners for the Schools’ Energy Coop, we were asked to come up with a design that met the ecclesiastic planning committees stringent design requirements.
The project team chose the cloister area for the solar panels. The panels are not visible from the ground, and there is a parapet wall surrounding them. This helps keep the panels hidden from view but does give local shading issues. The church left some dummy panels on top of the cloister roof for several months before the build to see if these would be visible from the surrounding area. It turns out they weren’t!
Because no direct fixings were possible, we decided to use panels mounted on a ballasted frame. As a roofing material, lead is quite unique in that it is soft, and it moves around a lot as it expands and contracts in the sun. Clamping on to the ‘broom handle seams’ is not a possibility as it would soon cause a hole around the fixing points.
Joju decided to work with solar mounting system specialists Sunfixings on this project. Sunfixings have extensive experience in designing solar PV mounting systems for lead roofs and were an obvious technology partner for this project. The roof has a stepped surface, and is generally a little uneven and not quite straight (it turns out our laser lines are more accurate than 800 years old craftsmanship). The design team settled on a fully adjustable frame to ensure there was good contact at the right places over the surface of the roof.
It’s not just the panels; of course, there is also the wiring to consider. The cables were collected under the array, then ran in a discretely positioned basket tray, on rubber feet, following the line of the roof. The wires ran to the new café and gift shop section, which as a modern extension meant we could finally drill a hole to get the cables to the inverter and consumer unit inside.
The solar array was finally built on the Cathedral in July 2020, as soon as we were able to come out of lockdown safely. The system features 37kW of high-efficiency Sunpower 400W modules.
The system was formally opened by The Bishop of Salisbury. His words, perhaps best sum up the scheme: “The Church of England is working hard towards a Net Zero carbon footprint by 2030. I am delighted that Salisbury Cathedral is making a contribution that takes us towards this. With clear purpose and helpful partnerships even iconic buildings can make a difference towards sustainability. In these strange times the possibilities of living differently seem all the more important and this project even more significant.”
So, was this iconic project all just a stroke of good luck? Did it only get built because the community group approached clergy who happened to be passionate about the environment? And then chanced to meet other partners to help with the financial raise, project development, design, and build?
Or maybe we all make our own luck, and the more we try to make our visions a reality, the more likely we are to find others who feel the same way. And then great things can happen. We like to think so, and we expect to see more historic buildings sensitively incorporating solar over the coming years.
All photos by the sublime Ash Mills.
Overall, the city of Southampton has been investing heavily in carbon reduction and air quality improvement through their transport strategy. Throughout the city, we have seen a large increase in fast and rapid electric vehicle (EV) charge points (CP) becoming available to the public.
The University of Southampton has also followed this trajectory with their 2015-2020 travel plan. As part of this plan, the University is promoting more sustainable means of transport. The University track the number of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) through their parking permit database. An increase in the amount of EVs and PHEVs on record indicated a demand for charging services. This led them to launch a pilot project whereby they installed ten electric vehicle charge points at four locations across their campuses.
Two years ago, it was made more expensive for a member of staff or visitor to purchase a permit with a vehicle with higher emissions (petrol or diesel). This was pursuant with making the permits cheaper for EV or PHEV owners. As the number of PHEV and EV owners increased, the University decided to launch a pilot to facilitate the need for charging these vehicles on site. The University decided to fully fund the charge points and procured them through the Central Southern Regional (CSR) Framework. Adam Tewksbury, Associate Director for Environment & Sustainability, had the following to say “[…] The CSR Framework has been really helpful because we are able to say these are the same charge points that you will see locally, which alleviates the concerns about different styles, types of charging points and operating systems, people who are thinking about getting an EV might have. The consistency helps the messaging.”
The pilot project saw ten electric vehicle charge points installed at four campus car parks. Four charge points were installed at their main visitor car park at Highfield campus. Two charge points per campus were also installed at Bolderwood, Avenue and Winchester. The charge points are available to all staff and visitors who have a permit to access the car parks. As well as this, the University has seven electric fleet vehicles which make up around one-quarter of all of the vehicles in the Estates Department. These fleet vehicles are able to access all of the charge points installed.
The University has applied differential pricing according to the different user types. University of Southampton fleet vehicles aren’t charged for electricity usage on the charge points, whereas staff and visitors are charged at a rate of £0.20 per kWh. The fleet vehicles are able to do this through an approved fob which is set to free charging via the New Motion back-office system.
The University wanted to monitor the usage of the charge points over the course of a year to help inform their future sustainability strategy planning. This would also contribute to the need for future installations throughout the University. Straight away, the charge points were being used. “Two EVs were charging after 24 hours of installing them which shows the latent demand was there,” said Adam. Two newsletters were released at six and 12 months, which stated how much the charge points had been used and how many people had accessed them. Over the course of the year, the charge points were accessed 765 times by 95 different people dispensing 8,500 kWh – enough to travel more than 25,000 miles in a Nissan Leaf.
The amount of usage from the charge points has led to the University of Southampton planning further installations, “Uptake has been good and steady, they’re a useful asset to have on-site because it gives a bit of assurance and supports in people’s thinking: if they make the switch to an EV, there is the infrastructure for charging available for them. The timing of putting them in was a bit of an experiment, but it’s paid off, and we’re building on it” added Adam. Four bays have been earmarked for electric vehicle charge points at another site, and the University are planning to move ahead with further installations before the end of the year.
Overall, the pilot has been a success, and the demand for EV and PHEV charging is definitely there and increasing for people visiting the University. One challenge the University thought that would occur is that they might not have installed enough charge points and an EV user may turn up to a fully stacked set of charge points at their main visitor car park (Highfield). To overcome this, they have an attendant on-site during hours of operation who will provide information for visitors about the alternative sites for charging.
Test Valley Borough Council have recently installed 14 electric vehicle charge points across eight public car parks in Andover and Romsey. Along the way, they have navigated uncertainties around usage levels, a wide range of technical options and different financial offerings.
It’s a story that’s common to councils nationwide as they begin their own transitions to EVs.
Central government has outlined its ambitions to ban internal combustion engine vehicles from sale by 2035. While this is a noble ambition, it has fallen to local authorities to provide the necessary infrastructure for the switch to electric. Local authorities then have to find a way of solving the problem, often starting from scratch.
Steve Raw, Engineering and Transport Manager outlined the problem. “We were very aware of a lack of knowledge and expertise within the Borough Council in terms of how best to proceed. There are many types of chargers and various procurement and funding models available, so it’s hard to know where to start.”
It’s also fraught with risk, especially around levels of usage of the charge points, once installed. “Our worst-case scenario would be installing charge points that weren’t used. Our car park in Romsey often reaches 90% capacity at peak times, so if dedicated EV bays were empty, it would pressurise the whole system.”
It’s easy to imagine the criticism such a scenario might invite. For that reason, Test Valley Borough Council were reluctant to commit council funds towards an EVCP programme.
Nonetheless, with central government making their electric transport vision clear, and local councillors keen to push forward with green infrastructure projects, the Council decided to take the plunge and install in CPs in Andover and Romsey. “It’s a chicken and egg situation – without public EVCPs, the public don’t have the confidence to switch to EVs. But without EVs there’s no-one to use the EVCPs”. The sensible way to solve this puzzle is to install smaller EVCP programmes and expand them as the electric vehicle stock increases.
Test Valley Borough Council contacted Hampshire County Council about the Central Southern Regional Framework which provides an efficiency procurement route for EV infrastructure. “As a contract manager, we’d need to employ a transport consultant or build up our in-house knowledge. The Central Southern Regional Framework allowed us to piggy-back off of the learning from other projects under the scheme. And importantly, it also offered the possibility of external funding.”
Joju undertook a full feasibility study, which looked at possible locations for the charge points and their expected usage. The feasibility study provided I formation on:
Under the Central Southern Framework, public authorities have the option of using Joju to provide finance for EVCPs. Here we pay for the charge points and recoup the investment by charging drivers for charging from the EV charge points. Test Valley Brough Council followed this approach as it takes the investment risk away from the public sector. In future, councils can deploy far more public charge points across their regions via a funded route than would be possible if purely council funded.
Test Valley Borough Council now have a total of 14 electric vehicle charge points (with 18 useable sockets), installed across eight sites. Sites in Andover that now have EV infrastructure include Borden Gates, Chantry Centre, Shepherd’s Spring Lane, George Yard, and South Street. Alma Road, Lortemore Place, and Princes Road in Romsey also have new EV charge points.
The sites are operating under a mix of funding models. Joju Charging fully funds three locations, and the other five are part-funded by the Council. The latter was made possible as with Joju’s assistance; the Council successfully applied for an OLEV grant under the on-street residential charging scheme (ORCS) the five jointly-funded sites.
“We’ll be reviewing the performance of the charge points over the coming years. Once we get to a point where EV drivers can’t charge because the bays are full and there’s not enough capacity, we can expand the provision of charge points. We’ve learned a lot along the way and could do a second phase very easily”.
Like many councils across the country, Reading Borough Council are looking at providing electric car charging infrastructure for their residents. The aim is to increase the uptake of electric vehicles across their region, and thereby reduce carbon dioxide emissions (climate change) and NOx and particulate pollution (local air quality and public health).
“Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is clearly required and it is up to local government to provide it.”, explained Councillor Tony Page. “We’re therefore looking at all options to increase uptake of EV within the Borough”.
Given that there are an estimated 52,000 people in Reading with no off-street parking, Reading Borough Council decided to develop a scheme that could serve this section of the community.
The most elegant solution in this case is to use lamp post electric car chargers. These use small EV charge points attached to the lamp post itself and served from the existing electrical supply to that lamp post. It removes the need for additional street furniture, by using the existing infrastructure.
Joju were chosen to install a total of 15 charge points on lamp posts on Coventry Road, Filey Road, Manchester Road, St Bartholemews Road, East Street, Anstey Road Caversham Road and Wantage Road. The locations were chosen from responses to the council’s ‘Go Electric’ public consultation, whereby residents with an electric car, or planning to get an electric car, could request charge points in their locality.
For this project, we chose City EV Cityline 100 Smart Charging units. These are ‘Elexon approved’, which means they are certified for being used powered by unmetered public street lighting. The charge points are currently free to use, but in future they will be accessed by RFID card or via a mobile phone app. City EV also make a contactless card payment version of the charge point, which offers another convenient payment method for councils.
The lamp post charging points are 3.6 kW units due to the size of the electricity supply to the lamppost, but these are perfectly sufficient for an overnight charge.
The scheme was procured through the Central Southern Regional Framework, providing Reading Borough Council with a rapid and simple procurement and project development process. The Framework is developing a coherent charging network for councils across the south of England.
Although the Go Electric consultation produced a long list of potential sites, not all of these were technically simple. Many of the lamp posts in Reading are on the house side of the pavement, meaning that additional street side columns would be required, plus additional cabling running under the pavement from the lamp post.
Therefore, for this first phase it was decided to focus solely on simple lamp post charging points and so the sites chosen were those where the lamp posts were located on the kerb side of the pavement.
Technically the installation of the charge points was very simple – the electricity supply was already in place so it was just a question of mounting the charge point on the lamp post column and registering this with the back-office payment system. It’s also more cost effective – because the electricity supply is already in place, the expense of getting new connections can be saved.
These lamp post charging points are just the start for Reading Borough Council. “We’re bringing forward our new Transport Plan, which will take a broader more holistic view of transport in the City”, said Councillor Page. “We recognise that switching from fossil fuel vehicles to EVs helps with pollution, but doesn’t address congestion in the city – a car is a car, electric or not! So it’s important to take a broader vision of transport, and look at more radical potential options like introducing low emission zones”. That said, further lamp post charging points, as well as units in public car parks and workplaces, are likely to be developed over the coming years.
Overall, lamp post charging points are an ideal technical solution for low cost, simple charging solutions for urban areas that lack off street parking. With 40% of homes nationwide having no off-street parking, lamp post electric car chargers look an essential piece of technology for making the electric vehicle transition available to all.
ThamesWey has recently installed an innovative solar/battery microgrid at a housing estate in Woking. ThamesWey are a private company, owned by Woking Borough Council, set up to drive carbon reductions and the wider sustainability agenda in the Borough. They own and manage over 600 properties in support of the Council’s Housing Strategy. ThamesWey offer a range of private rental properties including homes at more affordable rents and key worker accommodation. ThamesWey have a long history in the solar energy sector; back in the 2000’s, and long before feed-in tariffs were established, they were the leading institution installing solar panels in the UK. They installed their first solar panels back in 2001, and had installed over 5000 solar panels by 2012.
“It’s in our business plan to trial new technologies, so we wanted to run a demonstrator of centralised battery storage”, explains Rachel Lambert, ThamesWey’s Environmental Projects Manager. “We wanted to find a solution that saved carbon, whilst simultaneously offering a strong economic case. At the current state of technology, that required a highly innovative project”.
The site chosen was a group of 14 homes, which already had solar PV installed as integrated solar roof tiles on 12 of the properties since 2010. ThamesWey built the properties to code 5 of the former Code for Sustainable Homes , and designed them to run off their own private wire network. ThamesWey import electricity into a substation, and then distribute this electricity on to the connected homes.
“We came up with a concept of installing batteries at the substation as part of our own microgrid”, said Sam Pepper, Environmental Projects Officer. “The idea was to capture the excess solar electricity that was being produced during the day, and to use this to benefit all the homes on the network, including those without solar”.
ThamesWey asked Joju Solar to help design and implement the scheme. We undertook extensive modelling of the site, looking at ½ hourly usage and generation across the homes, and predicting what would happen if batteries were incorporated.
This was also a full financial model. ThamesWey buy in electricity that is priced every ½ hour on a real time tariff. As a ‘commercial’ user, ThamesWey also incur high additional charges of 8p/kWh (called DUoS charges) at peak times between 4pm and 7pm every weekday. We looked at the savings possible for a variety of battery models and operational regimes.
We settled on the installation of 3 x Tesla Powerwalls for a number of reasons:
Overall the scheme offers the best economics we have seen for behind the meter batteries, with a full return on investment within the 10 year warrantied lifetime of the Tesla Powerwall.
This centralised approach is approximately 5 times cheaper than the alternative of installing a battery in each home, showing the advantage of deploying batteries into a microgrid.
Joju installed the batteries at the substation over a 3-day period. The only issue faced with the installation was making the final connection between the batteries and the supply in the substation, which needed to be switched off to manage the works safely. Homeowners were informed in advance by letter that their supply would be briefly interrupted on the final day, and the necessary connection was made within 15 minutes.
The ThamesWey project is a clear demonstrator of the strong economic case for batteries within a microgrid context. At first glance it might seem that this kind of site is fairly unique, but the same approach can be adopted wherever there is a landlord’s electricity supply in place – most commonly in blocks of flats. Any situation where the landlord buys electricity into a building (or site), and then sells on electricity to tenants, can benefit from battery storage behind the landlords meter (but in front of the tenants). It’s a model Joju Solar are now rolling out at numerous sites across the country.
Mark Rolt, ThamesWey’s Chief Executive Officer concludes “We were delighted to work with Joju Solar to install these batteries at our substation as part of an innovative trial of a centralised battery. The associated carbon savings from maximising the use of energy generated from a renewable energy technology supports our founding commitment to reduce carbon emissions in the Borough.”
As part of their ongoing wider city council programme on clean transport to improve air quality; Southampton City Council have introduced their first rapid 50kW charging point for electric taxi usage at Lances Hill Car Park, in Bitterne Village. This charging station has the capacity to fully charge an Electric Vehicle in 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the Electric Vehicle’s capacity. This gives the council capacity for electric taxis to be able to charge their vehicle quickly in between journeys; making an incredibly efficient, low-carbon service for taxi and private hire vehicles. Increasing the availability of rapid charging stations around the city will incentivise an increase in the number of electric taxis within Southampton.
Following a large roll-out by Southampton City Council of fast EV charging infrastructure throughout public car parks in the city, the council decided to initiate its rapid charging network for electric taxi and private hire use. By improving the accessibility of fast and rapid chargers around the city, the council hope to incentivise more taxis to make the switch to electric vehicles and contribute to the clean air strategy within the city. The initial motivation for Southampton City Council to install their first rapid charger was to incentivise the use of electric taxi and private hire vehicles within the city. Rob Gloyns, Air Quality Project Officer at Southampton City council says “through our Local NO2 Plan and Clean Air Strategy, we have put measures in place to upgrade taxis to cleaner vehicles over the next few years. The key issue we faced was that there was nowhere for the drivers to quickly charge their vehicle during their hours of operation. However, by providing the taxi trade with the infrastructure they need, we hope to see a large increase in the amount of electric taxis within Southampton”.
Southampton City Council are currently offering trials of electric taxis for local drivers, and hope this experience will provide extra information to employees within the taxi service in order to make the switch easier. The council are also offering monetary incentives to make the switch from older, more polluting taxis to low emission alternatives.
The key challenge with installing rapid chargers relates to the installation itself. Because the units a very high-powererd, a new connection needed to be put in place, which the local network operator installed prior to Joju arriving on site. The ABB rapid charger units are very large, weighing more than 250kg, and need to be craned into position. Once in place, all that was needed was to wire the unit in; itself a major challenge due to the physical size of the wiring required.
One of the smaller issues has been allocating the charge point to electric taxis only. To incentivise the trade to increase the amount of electric vehicles in operation in Southampton the charge point will be completely free for the taxis to use for an introductory period. Limiting the use to taxis as opposed to public use means that taxis won’t have to worry about the charging station not being available.
The council have also installed a 22kW fast charging dual socketed unit in the same car park which will enable two public vehicles to charge at the same time. This therefore enables the public to be able to use this car park as a charging point when in and around the city.
This is part of a city-wide programme to increase the availability fast and rapid charging stations. In the coming months Southampton City Council plan a more centrally based rapid charge to be installed. Outside of rapid charging, Southampton are looking at further fast chargers located around the city car parks. They will also be reviewing usage of the rapid chargers and hope to expand more in the future. With plans to trial electric vehicles for the taxi trade and the range of other supporting incentives the council fully expect the number of electric vehicles used in the service to increase over the next few years.
Whilst we have seen residential customers installing the complete set of solar PV, battery storage, and electric vehicle chargepoints, it’s something of a rarity at a larger scale. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, however, have just completed a £600k scheme installing electric vehicle charge points across the borough, combining this with solar PV and battery storage at some of the sites. Steve Brown, Transportation Officer, explains: “We’ve been very interested in the potential to replace our diesel/petrol fleet with electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions and address air quality in the borough. But we were very aware that doing so would increase our electricity consumption, and nationally there’d be a problem generating the electricity. So we have looked to manage these knock-on effects ourselves by installing an equivalent amount of solar PV at the same time to offset this.” And it’s not just the amount of new electricity that was a concern: “We wanted to use batteries to store this sustainable energy for us to use when we needed it, rather than when it was available”
The flagship site in the programme is the Wellgate multi-storey car park, which features 5 dual Alfen Eve charge points, 87kW of solar PV and 3 Tesla Powerwall’s for storage. The solar PV was hosted in a unique way, on the top deck of the multi-storey. “It’s an odd feature of almost every multi-storey car park in the country that no-one parks on the top-deck”, says Steve. “They’re massively underutilised assets, so we took the decision to close the top deck and use this space for generating solar electricity.”
An additional five sites incorporated both solar PV and electric vehicle charge points. Hellaby Depot, Rawmarsh Library, Riverside House, Rother Valley Country Park, and Thrybergh Country Park host 17 dual charge points and 141 kW of solar PV.
Aston Health Centre, Drummond Street car park, Walker Street car park and Wath Library are also home to dual chargepoints, increasing the coverage of the public EV charging network in the Rotherham Metropolitan area.
“The main difficulty we had was whether the scheme would work at all”, said Steve. “There’s a certain amount of ‘If we build it, they will come’ when developing a chargepoint scheme. But Rotherham does not have the same level of per capita income as parts of southeastern England, and we didn’t know how quickly the community here will take up EVs, as they are still more expensive than petrol or diesel vehicles.”
Funding from the Government’s Clean Air Fund early measures programme provided the initiative to get the scheme off the ground, and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council instructed Joju Solar to install the project, following a mini-tender through the ESPO Framework. Joju Solar are uniquely well placed to deliver schemes like this as we are one of the largest installers of Public Sector EV charge point programmes, as well as having decades of experience installing solar PV and battery storage.
“Our fears have been unfounded – the chargepoints are being widely used, and people are prepared to use charge points at outlying council offices and country parks. From our point of view, it’s worked extremely well”. The Council are seeing the solar PV generation being used on their own sites, reducing bills, and the battery storage is covering lighting requirements overnight.
Rotherham’s approach appears to be paying dividends, and there’s an appetite for more. “The whole system has been really well thought out – there’s chargers in the basement for staff and outside for public use. We’d like to do more of the same – perhaps in innovative locations like schools and colleges as well”.
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s pioneering scheme is a strong example to other councils, particularly in the way that they have looked at the larger energy picture. Electrifying transport will inherently increase demand for electricity, and it shows a truly holistic approach to sustainability to consider how this will be provided as part of one installation programme.
Hampshire County Council have recently completed the installation of 37 charge points for their electric vehicle fleet, which can charge a total of 54 electric vehicles. The aim is to switch their diesel fleet to electric vehicles in order to reduce their carbon emissions that is a part of their Energy and Carbon Management Programme. Since 2010 the council have accomplished their targets and successfully reduced their carbon emissions throughout the first phase of the Programme. By switching diesel cars to electric vehicles (EVs), this will contribute to reducing their carbon emissions and can help inspire other employees to consider changing to an EV too.
Charge points for the council’s electric vehicle fleet have been installed in two phases. During phase one, 17 NewMotion charge points were installed across 8 locations in Hampshire in July 2018. The NewMotion charge point can charge at an optimal power of up to 22 kW. During phase two, 20 Alfen Eve charge points were installed across 10 locations in Hampshire in May 2019, which can charge 37 electric vehicles as the Alfen Eve charge points have 2 sockets per charge point. Alfen Eve charge points are vandalism proof due to the glass fibre enforced casing. The charge points were installed in car parks and employee’s private properties during phase one and two.
Project management over such a large-scale project for one council have been challenging as cooperation with many various stakeholders and council departments have been necessary to arrange for site surveys, specify charge point locations and moreover. Joju’s Operations Director, Joe Gabriel explains: “With so many sites wrapped up in one scheme, smooth coordination of the works is critical to delivering the scheme. Good communication, and flexibility in the delivery programme is essential to coordinating the installation works. That’s why each project has its own dedicated programme manager, and why we use our own in-house electrical teams“.
Hampshire County Council have already planned more instalments of electric vehicle charging points for their evolving fleet and they are currently increasing their public charge points. As pioneers in this space, Hampshire developed their own procurement framework (Central Southern Regional Framework) for the works, which is now being offered across the south of the UK. This will allow other councls and public bodies to benefit from Hampshire County Council’s experience, and be able to replicate this kind of scheme in their own area. The intention is to grow this to become a uniform public charging network across the entire region.
“The trouble is that the bad guys don’t have environmental targets”, declared Dennis Ord,
Head of Transport for Surrey & Sussex Police. “That means our priority is a vehicle that can deliver the performance we need, but also at low environmental impact”.
With this in mind Surrey and Sussex Police purchased 60 BMW i3 full electric cars. The vehicles will be used by officers to carry out day-to-day policing activities such as visiting victims or witnesses to take statements, or as part of door-to-door inquiries. Environmental targets were not the only benefit here – the much lower running costs of electric vehicles compared to diesel or petrol, means that each force is expected to save £120,000 over the next five years. That’s valuable funds that can be used elsewhere in the police budget.
Of course, the 60 new electric vehicles needed their own dedicated chargepoints, and with the vehicles on order, installed at short notice. Surrey and Sussex Police decided to procure through the Central Southern Regional Framework, run by Hampshire County Council, which offers a streamlined procurement process, whilst simultaneously ensuring high quality products and service. The Central Southern Regional Framework is available to all councils and public bodies (health service, police, fire etc) within the south of England.
30 fast chargers were installed for Surrey Police for across 8 sites in November 2018, followed by a further 40 chargepoints for Sussex Police in December 2018. “Our main challenges were the rapid turnaround times required – if the vehicles arrived and they couldn’t charge, it would have been a disaster”, said Joju’s Operations Director Joe Gabriel. “These were also live police sites, requiring careful project management to ensure disruption to police activities was minimised.”
The Police are modernising their policing with the procurement of a fleet of electric vehicles and associated infrastructure – benefitting the environment and their balance sheet at the same time. As such it is a perfect example of both the benefits of institutions switching to electric fleets and of how public institutions can procure the necessary infrastructure.
The bad guys don’t stand a chance!