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)

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  • 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
EV CHarging, Alfen, Fast Charger

Dorset Council’s greener travel at zero capital cost

In 2019, Dorset Council was looking to replace a handful of pre-existing rapid chargers and began an open conversation with us about what we could do to help offer residents and businesses a cleaner, greener way to travel in Dorset.

The local authority wanted to take steps towards their ambition to become a carbon-neutral Council by 2040 at the latest, with the whole of the county being carbon neutral by 2050. They were also keen to accelerate several actions in their  Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy Action Plan and as part of this, we discussed more widespread electric vehicle charge points in public car parks, supporting the transition to electric vehicles.

 

Making it feasible

Through the Central Southern Regional Framework, we have several funding approaches we offer, tailored to local authority requirements.

One of those is a fully funded installation and management solution for electric vehicle charge points in public sites, with our funding partners Grønn Kontakt. It’s a great way for local authorities to roll out EV charging infrastructure at zero capital cost and in this case, the first step for us was to carry out a large feasibility study across 115 public car park sites and several Council offices in Dorset.

During the process, full pricing and site designs were put together and we agreed, with Dorset Council, which sites to take forward.

 

Working together to go electric

After several months of planning, conversation and collaboration, we began installing ‘phase one’ of this landmark project, which will cover 17 public car parks across the county including Blandford Forum, Dorchester, Gillingham, Lyme Regis, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Verwood, West Bay, Weymouth and Wimborne Minster.

The fast (22kW) charge points being installed are supplied with 100% renewable energy and mean drivers can charge their electric vehicles while visiting the county’s towns. A quick top-up (a charge of 15 minutes) enables a journey of about 15 miles, or a full charge will take 2-4 hours, depending on the vehicle. All charge points can be accessed through the Grønn Kontakt charging portal and app.

It’s been great working in partnership with the Dorset Council team to make this happen and as they say,

“Working with Joju is a pleasure. Their can-do attitude to problem-solving is refreshing and undoubtedly part of the reason why Dorset’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure programme has been such a success. They have a real understanding of how local authorities work and have demonstrated a genuine willingness to accommodate Dorset’s charging infrastructure needs, for the benefit of both residents and visitors”.

At the recent launch of the first phase one sites, Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, also commented:

“Dorset has an important role to play in helping to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. The government plans to phase out sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, so it is important drivers are offered more sustainable travel options now.

We are grateful to Joju Charging and their partners Grønn Kontakt for funding both the installation and management of this scheme and for their enthusiasm and hard work in getting us to this stage.”

The feedback is fantastic to hear.

 

Future installs in Dorset

We’re excited to be rolling out Phase 2 of this project during the remainder of 2021. It will include the install of electric vehicle charge points in approximately another 30 sites around the county. The pre-existing rapids will also be replaced and as the team at Dorset Council say,

“Residents and visitors to Dorset are already demanding more charge points. Going forward we are confident that Joju can help the council meet those demands”.

Here’s to the further roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help Dorset move to a low-carbon future and to make travelling in the county cleaner and greener.

 

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Winchester City Council, EV charge point

Winchester City Council’s Mixed Funding Model

Winchester City Council sits right in the heart of the Hampshire led Central Southern Regional Framework for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. The council declared a climate emergency in June 2019; committing to become a carbon-neutral council by 2024 with the wider district to become carbon neutral by 2030. As the highest source of council carbon emissions, transport was a priority for the council to address. As the local authority with the highest number of plug-in cars and vans registered within Hampshire at the time, it was clear that installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure was imperative to mitigating harmful emissions from local transport and improving air quality. Councillor Jackie Porter says As more drivers invest in electric cars, we want residents and visitors to be sure that their visits to our city, larger villages, and market towns include the chance to recharge their electric car. We hope that by installing electric vehicle charge points it will boost tourism too as the summer arrives”.

 

Following some initial research from Horizon Power & Energy, Winchester City Council accessed the Central Southern Regional Framework and instigated a feasibility study from Joju, the suppliers to this framework, to investigate the opportunity of installing electric vehicle charge points.

Funding Winchester City Council’s EV Charge points

The feasibility study initially examined 23 public car parks. Through this process full pricing and site designs were put together for the council to then decide which sites to move forward with in the first phase of installations. As well as pricing and site design, the council were also able to access several unique funding solutions. Through the Central Southern Regional Framework, several funding options are available

  • Joju can offer supplier funding for the entire cost of charge point installation (fully funded),
  • a co-investment model with the council whereby the council contributes a certain percentage of the installation costs and Joju contributes the rest
  • A fully council funded model whereby the council funds the entire cost of the installation. Through the fully funded and co-investment model, the ongoing maintenance and operational costs of the charge points are covered by Joju.

 

The council decided that it would utilise all three models of funding. Using the fully funded model for a rapid charge point, dedicated for electric taxis. The co-investment model was used for the majority of the sites, and the council decided to fully fund one site in Denmead due to requests from several local constituents. Every charge point installed through the fully supplier funded model and the co-investment model is provided with clean, renewable electricity.

 

The feasibility findings were published in a cabinet report and the council allocated £120,000 of council money for the portfolio, with Joju and their partner Gronn Kontakt providing the remainder of the funding.

Installing EV charge points

Overall, 16 sites were chosen for Phase One with 33 charge points to be installed in early 2021. The car parks are located across the district in Alresford, Bishops Waltham, Denmead, Harestock, Wickham and Winchester City Centre. 32 of the charge points provide a charge rate of up to 22kW, depending on what electric vehicle you drive. One 50kW rapid charge point was also installed at Worthy Lane Coach Park car park, near Winchester Station, which is for both public use and the emerging electric vehicle taxi trade in the local area. All 33 charge points can be accessed through the Gronn Kontakt charging portal and app.

This scheme, alongside the Hampshire County Council on-street rollout of charge points in Winchester, brings the city and the surrounding areas up to speed with the accelerating demand for electric vehicle charging.

As David Ingram, Project Lead says, “Winchester City Council’s Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy was adopted as part of its Clean Air Strategy, and supports aspirations toward a low carbon economy by encouraging the uptake of low emission vehicles. In assisting the City Council, Joju Solar provided a comprehensive and professional partnership by producing feasibility studies, giving clear presentations to decision makers, simplifying an otherwise complex set of considerations and ultimately fully project managing the installation of the network”. 

Plans for more charge points in Winchester

As Winchester continues the path to carbon neutrality, we expect to see the provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure increase over the years. The council already have exciting projects in the pipeline which will look to expand their network of charging. Through the Central Southern Regional Framework, the notion of a universal charging network within the area is becoming more of a reality, and Winchester can be instrumental in leading the charge.

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 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 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 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.

 

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  • 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%.
Noah'sArk, Green roof, biosolar, aerial, BArnet

A Biosolar Roof for Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice make moments matter. They help seriously unwell babies, children and their families make the most of the special time they have together, providing clinical, emotional and practical support to over 300 families across North and Central London and Hertsmere.

 

The hospice wanted to support an increase in the scale and quality of their work and to do that, they needed a new building. ‘The Ark’, a highly sustainable ‘home-from-home’ and an inspiring space for palliative care, relaxation and adventure, launched in September 2019 and was constructed within their nature reserve in Barnet, becoming the first new hospice building in London for ten years.

 

The realisation of The Ark was a combination of an incredibly successful fundraising appeal which raised over £12million, architectural design by Squire & Partners and collaboration between a number of construction and sustainability professionals – all playing their part to create this iconic new build. At Joju Solar, we got involved when creating ‘a green roof with a difference’ became part of the plan.

 

A Green roof with added solar

Bridgman & Bridgman in partnership with Bauder Ltd began the construction of The Ark’s green roof and the idea was to create a living, wildflower meadow in the sky, to support native wildlife as part of the building’s strong connection with its natural setting.

 

It was also important to make The Ark as self-sufficient as possible from an energy perspective, which meant installing solar PV on the green roof. The solar was being funded by the community through Energy 4 All, which significantly reduced the overall capital expenditure of the project (saving over £84,000 in energy costs to the client over a 20-year period). We’ve worked closely with Energy 4 All on a number of community-owned, green energy projects and they invited us to be part of the team – to install 171 solar PV panels so that both green roof and solar worked together in harmony.

 

When installed correctly, that’s exactly what Biosolar roofs create. PV panels can work more efficiently on a green roof, as green roofs help to keep the temperature around the panels at the optimum 25 degrees celsius. A hotter micro climate can result in loss of panel efficiency, so green roof and solar is the perfect partnership from that perspective. Efficiency was critical in this very special new build, to make sure the hospice would receive as greater yield as possible.

 

Solar panels can also create shaded areas underneath them, which encourages a wider variety of vegetation to grow on a green roof. That means the combination can help different types of species to thrive and in a nature reserve setting, this worked beautifully.  Look how the wind protection allows taller species to grow near the panels!

 

The installation utilised Bauder BioSOLAR – an integrated mounting system made stable by green roof layering and vegetation, removing the need for penetrating the waterproofing to secure the mounting units to the roof. It was ready for us to install the solar panels on to, with the frame sitting around 300mm higher than the line of the roof. This allowed growing room for vegetation without blocking any light to the panels and also meant light and moisture could reach beneath them to support any vegetation or wildlife below.

 

The seeds were planted following our PV solar install and once the mains electricity install was complete, we returned to commission the 46.17kWp system.

 

Green roof and solar – a winning combination

The combination of green roof and solar on The Ark was a winning one. Not only did it encourage biodiversity and fulfil the goal of generating the building’s electricity, the project won the “Roof Gardens/ Living Wall Installations – Commercial Roof Garden or Podium Landscaping – Under £500k” award in the BALI National Landscape Awards 2020. It’s also the first time a community funded green roof with PV panels has been used in the UK.

 

As the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said when the building opened:

“Noah’s Ark has been a beacon of light for the children and families it serves, so I’m delighted that they have a brand-new home,”

and we’re proud to have been able to play a small part in helping to make this peaceful sanctuary sustainable.

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Egni Coop, Graint Thomas Velodrome, Newport Councl, largest solar roof in Wales,

Egni Coop’s Welsh Community Solar Programme

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.

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Salisbury Cathedral, solar, spire

The Salisbury Cathedral Solar Roof

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

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?”

From small beginnings …

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.

Solar on Salisbury Cathedral?

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!

The Planning Process for Solar on churches

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:

  • The panels must not be visible from the ground, or higher ground in the Salisbury area
  • There must be no drilling into the historic structure of the building
  • There must be no damage to the lead roof covering

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.

The Salisbury Cathedral solar design team

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.

Salisbury Cathedral’s Solar Roof

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.

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University of Southampton, EV charge point, Avenue Campus

The University of Southampton EV Charging Pilot

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.

Sustainability in the University

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.

The Pilot

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.”

Multiple Pricing Tariffs

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 charge points are being used

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 Future

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, Chantry Centre, car park, EV charge point, Test Valley, fully funded

Test Valley’s fully-funded charge points

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.

Where to start?

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.

Deciding to install an EV charge point 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.

Assistance from the Central Southern Regional Framework

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.

Advice and Charge Point Funding from Joju Charging

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:

  • Whether a site is considered viable, unviable or marginal
  • Whether there is access to existing electrical infrastructure
  • Whether the site is best suited for fast or rapid chargers
  • Estimated costs (pre-survey)

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.

A fully-funded charge point programme

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”.

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Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council, lamp post charger, lamp post electric car charging point, City EV, Cityline100

Lamp post charging points in Reading

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.

Lamp post charging points

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.

City EV’s lamp post chargers

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.

Procuring lamp post charging points

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.

Sites for lamp post electric car chargers

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.

The future of lamp post charging points

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.

Find Out More ….

  • We’re helping public authorities develop their electric vehicle charging infrastructure.  You can see our case studies here
  • We’re appointed to the Transport for London framework, specifically to install lamp post electric car chargers across London Boroughs
  • See here for further information about lamp post charging points