Academic First for SOAS

The first crowd-funded solar project at a higher education institution was installed at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Background

After crowdsourcing funds combined with university investment Solar SOAS, a project led by student group The Energy and Climate Justice Student Society, successfully raised the funds needed for a 29.6kWp system to be installed at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). This was the first student-led crowdfunded project of its type and Joju were delighted to be involved. We pride ourselves on pioneering solar PV and community funded projects and this was yet another example of a solar first for Joju.

The SOAS community will decide how to spend the profits generated from the system (estimated to be £2000 a year) with a voting process to be opened each year to determine what green project or cause will be selected over the lifetime of the scheme.

The Project

Joju installed an East to West solar PV array with a Solis inverter in September 2016. It is a 29.6kW system which will generate 24.15 MWh per year for SOAS. It consists of 114 260W Amerisolar panels all attached to a K2 frame. The University has it’s own mini electricity grid with equipment, which while stunning in its antiquity was also listed so provided a unique challenge for us to incorporate a modern, high-tech solar PV system in to (see the picture).

This project was extremely unique, Joju Head of Engineering James Page said “What made this project really special was the fact it happened because of the combined forces of an enthusiastic bunch of students who kicked the thing off, all supported by accommodating staff: with just one or the other it wouldn’t have happened.”

The project also gained political support from Keir Starmer, local MP for Holborn & St. Pancras. He said he was “absolutely thrilled to see the first university community energy project in the UK happening in our constituency. We hope this will lead the way for further similar projects around the country!”

The Benefits

The installation demonstrate SOAS’s continual efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, with the installation thought to save over 10 tonnes of carbon every year, therefore, building on its success as a green institution. In 2016 SOAS  topped the Brite-Green university league table with a 55% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005. SOAS have also been awarded the Carbon Champion mark of achievement by the Camden Climate Change Alliance.

Solar SOAS is hoping that they will act as a pilot for other UK universities and even set up UniSolar, a community benefit society to administer and introduce community energy to other higher education establishments. They also plan to build on the success of this project, with other solar installations.

Isobel Annan, co-founder of Solar SOAS said: “We overcame many obstacles and met some hair-raising deadlines over the past two years, as full-time students and alumni endeavouring to do something green and good in a challenging policy environment. But we are live and generating, and ecstatic to see those shining panels.”

Baroness Valerie Amos CH, Director of SOAS said: “I am always impressed by the commitment of SOAS students to engage with the pressing issues facing our world today. Solar SOAS is an excellent example of our students taking a constructive and positive approach to tackling one of the great challenges of our time – climate change.”

 

 

Green Oak leads the Way with LEDs

Green Oak school leads the way with LED installation

Background

All schools and teachers know that the environment in which children learn and work in is crucial to both their education and how they behave. Negative work spaces can create negative behaviour and limit a child’s opportunity to excel. Lighting plays a crucial role in creating a positive working environment and too many classrooms around the country still have inefficient lighting, issues with broken lights, flicker, and mismatched colours, which can all hamper the learning environment . Many schools are beginning to realise the potential for improving their classrooms through LED lighting, which is both aesthetically more pleasing but also creates light more conducive to learning. Green Oak Primary school is one such school who saw the potential in installing LED lighting to improve their school’s learning environments.

The Project

In Autumn 2016 Joju replaced 68 existing luminaires (light fittings). Dated and flickering batten fittings were replaced with sleek slimline LED panels that sit in the recessed ceiling. Rooms that originally had lights of different colour, which is unsightly to say the least, were all replaced with cool white LED lights. Flickering lights have been replaced with modern, instant-on lamps that have transformed the classrooms.

The Benefits

The LED installation at Green Oak will reduce energy bills by 5,600 kWh per year. We estimate that to be a saving of £611 per year (that’s about £10 for each fitting). Over the lifetime of the LEDS they will deliver over £12k of cost savings and when all benefitsare taken into account we expect a payback of four years. LEDs need replacing less often than fluorescent tubes, which offers significant maintenance saving. This will be especially true in the two-storey sports hall, where specialist access equipment is required every time a fluorescent tube fails.

What they said

The Headteacher of Green Oak school, Miriam Morris said “Joju provided a fantastic service to Green Oak working at all times in a professional manner at the school. They installed the lights during half term, so it didn’t have any adverse impact on us in school. The job was completed efficiently and on time and the results are fantastic. The LED lighting has made a real positive difference already to the aesthetic and working environment of the classrooms where they have been installed. It has changed things so much that many of the staff thought that the school had been completely repainted when they came back after the week of holiday!”

The project at Green Oak was funded by grants raised by Wey Valley Solar Schools Energy Co-operative, a member of Joju’s long term community energy partner, Energy4All.” Project co-ordinator Rachael Hunter said “We know from past experience that working with Joju will always be a pleasure. The service and knowledge of the project manager was second to none and we always feel confident in Joju’s ability to complete a job to the highest spec.”

 

Solar social housing in Brighton

Brighton and Hove City Council commits to tackling both poverty and climate change

The Challenge

Government-imposed budget cuts, inner-city poverty and adaptation to climate change is a triptych of problems that face UK city councils. Brighton & Hove City Council is committed to tackling all three issues one way it has found to address all them is by investing in solar panels for its social housing stock.

Solar PV is a triple win for social housing landlords: it means reduced electricity bills for tenants, reductions in carbon emissions and a reliable income source for 20 years. A triple win that directly combats the triple issue problem that councils are facing.

In 2015 Cllr Bill Randall, the council’s Chair of Housing, said about Brighton’s actions: “We’ve made great progress installing solar panels on our estates. We also sell the surplus energy we’re generating back to the grid and this money goes back into the city’s housing services.”

“£1.55 million is to be invested into solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for council housing over the next financial year,” he added. “Plans are in hand to bring forward the money earmarked for 2015/16 for a further 300 houses and 10 sheltered schemes. Beyond that, we hope to bring solar panels to further 1,000 homes.”

The Solution

Joju Solar designed and installed the Brighton solar project. Installations were completed on more than 200 homes, with system sizes varying between 2 and 3 kWp based on the available roof space. A total capacity of 980 kWp was installed during the project.

During the project improved supply chain logistics to allow for the smooth development of five installations per day per Joju team which helped to streamline the process and improve the efficiency of the whole project ensuring that Joju delivered the project at the best cost possible to the council.

What the residents said

After solar panels were installed on her house in Manor Way, Gwendoline Walls said: “It’s the best thing ever. I really can’t praise it enough. I cooked a meal on my electric cooker, ran the washing machine and dryer, and it only cost me 21p. It’s amazing. I can really see the difference in my bills. Plus they actually look pretty nice on the roof.”

Another resident, in Pulborough Close, said: “No troubles, no hold-ups – it was very easy. The installers were very friendly. The installation was neatly done, with nothing disturbed in the house. We’ve had no problems at all with the system. Plain sailing. We’re very happy with it.”

On any project one of Joju’s main goals is to help residents save on energy bills. We have been part of many social housing projects, and every single one is still special to us, as it brings us all nearer to a low carbon way of living.

 

 

 

 

Protecting homes from rising energy costs in Newham

Newham Council’s showpiece sustainable housing development goes solar

About the installation
Joju Solar won a competitive public tender to install a 20kWp system comprising 72 Sanyo/Panasonic 240W modules and 52 bespoke 45Wp brise soleil louvres on a brand new showpiece sustainable housing development for the London borough of Newham.

Installation time: 2 weeks

Challenge
To design and install an efficient solar PV system within complex architectural constraints and at the same time deliver strong financial returns. The PV installation needed to fit within a very tight program of works.

The new housing development was designed to lead the way in terms of both new sustainable home building and also to be a showcase in the borough for sustainable living. The solar installation was a key factor in allowing the client to meet the level five code for sustainable homes (a mandatory building requirement).

Solution
Joju Solar worked with the architect, principal contractor and other contractors involved in the development to meet the ambitious design limitations and tight program of works and delivered the project on time and on budget.
Our engineers designed a bespoke mounting system which allowed for the solar panels to be mounted above a green
living roof. The installation will deliver a high rate of return whilst at the same time helping the development achieve its sustainability targets.

What they said

Pip Watson, Principal Environmental Health Officer said “We wanted to lead the way in sustainable living locally. Joju delivered a bespoke installation which ticks the green box but will also reap strong financial returns for
the housing development.”

 

 

Julian and Lorena join the All Blacks

Julian and Lorena join the All Blacks with installation of 16 Solarworld’s 285w mono black solar panels

Background

When Julian and Lorena contacted Joju about a solar installation with home battery storage they wanted something that was going to complement their new home and fit in with its aesthetic. This is a pre-requisite of many of our residential consumers who voice concerns about how solar panels will look on their roofs and whether or not they will ‘fit in’. With existing solar tiles already out there on the market and Tesla recently annoucing their plans for solar tiles (see our installer’s guide to Tesla’s solar tiles) plenty of options are available. It is possible, however, to get the right look with panels. And that’s exactly what we did with the Solarworld mono black solar panels.

The Installation

16 Solarworld 285w  mono black panels were installed on Julian and Lorena’s new build property in Virginia Water, near Wentworth. There new build property is  supported by 4.56 kWp of All Black solar panels. The panels were mounted “in-roof” which means that they are flush with the roof line so blending in beautifully to the dark slate tiles and creating a brilliant aesthetic.  As well as the solar array Julian and Lorena also had a DC coupled 6.4kWh Tesla Powerwall installed, which stores excess solar energy for use in the evening.

The all black panels from Solarworld are German engineered. They come with the TUV Rheinland Power inspection mark and a linear performance warranty covering a period of 25 years, SolarWorld guarantees a maximum performance degression of 0.7% p.a only,

What Julian thinks

Julian says: ‘The solar PV and Powerwall system is the perfect addition to our new house. We are very pleased with the installation by Joju Solar and excited to have the sun help power our home day and night.’

 

 

fully charged, robert llewellyn

Glenn gets Fully Charged

Glenn Tweedie’s decision to get a Tesla Powerwall and solar PV has led to both energy savings and TV fame!

Background

When Glenn Tweedie decided to have a solar PV array and a Tesla Powerwall installed on his family home in St Albans he probably hoped and expected that it would lead to energy savings for him and his family. What Glenn didn’t plan for was that the installation would lead to internet stardom and a starring role in Robert Llewelyn’s internet show Fully Charged. 

The episode of the show which featured Glenn and his family was filmed a few weeks after Joju installed the system, which included our first ever Tesla Powerwall installation in May 2016.

The Solution

In the Fully Charged episode Glenn talks to Robert Llewellyn about the benefits the Tesla Powerwall has brought to his family and just how much it has lowered their energy consumption from the grid. Indeed, on the day of filming 97% of Glenn’s Family’s energy had come from energy stored in the battery and produced by the solar PV. With only 3% being drawn from the grid thanks to both the 4.5kWp solar array and the Tesla Powerwall working in perfect harmony. Thanks to the SolarEdge PV monitoring platform Glenn and his family can monitor their energy usage via a smart app on their phones and laptops, which has enabled him to show his two sons just how much energy they are wasting when they forget to turn off lights and Playstations.

Getting Fully Charged

The video demonstrates perfectly the benefits of when a solar PV array is installed in sync with a home battery storage solution. The energy savings, the improved family education on energy usage, and even the status that come with having such a complete home energy solution are all highlighted and discussed in depth in the episode.

Watch the film Fully Charged Episode here

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Further Reading

  • Inspired by Glenn’s story, Robert Llewellyn went and got himself the new model Tesla Powerwall2 and an upgraded solar PV system for his Home of the Future
  • We blogged the installation of the Powerwall2 unit live
  • Find out more about our battery offering, and how we work with households

Marks and Spencer – Community Energy Scheme

Background

Historically, community energy initiatives have fallen into two categories, depending on where they draw their members from. Investors come from either the local area where the project is located or where the community is geographically scattered are made up of people with a shared passion. However, we’re proud to have helped M&S develop a new type of community energy scheme – where a corporate institution engages the community energy approach to finance renewable schemes.

READ MORE

Prodrive to the moon and back


The largest community-owned roof mounted solar array in the UK

Background

Prodrive is a world leading motorsport and technology business. They are best known for motorsport, but they are now a technology business working in a range of sectors with operations in Banbury and Milton Keynes employing more than 500 staff.

READ MORE

Orchard Field Community School

Orchard Field School meets it high demand within strict grid restrictions

Orchard Field Community School is a large primary school in Banbury, Oxfordshire and a member of the Low Carbon Hub Solar Schools portfolio. The installation was installed in Summer 2015.

Challenge

Orchard Field Community School is a large primary school with a very high energy demand.  The school’s roof along with being large also curves around in a crescent moon shape. This presented a challenge in terms of how to secure the panels to the roof. The lengths of rail which we normally used on gable roofs couldn’t be used.  This also presented a challenge in terms of how best to wire the solar PV modules to the inverters, as panels facing in slightly different directions have different outputs depending on the location of the sun.  Orchard Field was therefore a tricky set up.

The final challenge was also to limit the potential export to the national grid. Despite the high demand on site solar PV export was limited to 50kWp, meaning that we needed to find a way to prevent the PV system from generating 50kWp more than the demand on site at any point in time – a very likely occurrence over the summer holidays.

Benefits

On a clear spring day the solar PV system meets the total energy demand on site. During the Summer this happens  more and more. Whatever the weather this system makes a significant reduction to the School’s electricity bills. And like all our installations in schools it has become a valuable educational tool for the pupils.

Why they chose Joju?

Joju have been one of the preferred suppliers of the Low Carbon Hub for several years and Orchard Croft is just another fantastic example of us working with them.

Headmistress Dawn Shilston said “As a school we feel incredibly proud to be doing our utmost to reduce our Carbon Footprint. It is incredible to consider we are the largest Solar Roof Project on a Primary School in Oxfordshire with our school roof hosting 384 solar panels. It has been an invaluable exercise in educating our pupils for the future on the importance for us all to explore the possibility of using renewable resources for our energy.”

Read More about the installation and all its savings here at Low Carbon Hub

 

 

Merton Council leads the way

Merton Council

London Council leads the way with green energy portfolio

Merton Borough Council have added over 200kWp solar PV to their impressive portfolio of solar in the last 3 months, creating 190,000kWh of free energy for local Schools every year.

Merton Council continue to demonstrate their green energy leadership by being the first council to install solar PV following the cuts to the FITs believing in the benefits that solar PV provide to the council despite the reductions in rates.

Challenges 

Merton had an impressive portfolio of solar PV before Joju started working for them. Sadly there previous installer had gone out of business and as a result left them with a number of sites which were not functioning correctly. They needed a new contractor to help them continue their program and fix any pre-existing system issues. This is where Joju were able to step in. Merton selected us to carry on the work because of our high ranking on the Fusion21 framework and based on personal recommendations.

The benefits

Each School has benefitted through reduced bills. At the same time the Schools’ have the capacity to access up-to-date data produced by the PV system, which is be used for educational purposes. The Council also see a long-term return on their investment through the new FIT.

What they said about us

“Joju Solar installed over 170 kWp of solar panels in under 2 months on challenging school sites across the London Borough of Merton. All stages of the process from planning to install were excellent and we have received high praise from the sites themselves about the way their teams worked on site.

Even in the current Feed in Tariff regime we can see the benefits of installing PV on sites and we are very pleased to have partnered with Joju for these installs and will be continuing to work with them in the future.”

Cabinet member for Environmental Sustainability and Regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge said: “The installation of so many solar panels to our buildings around Merton is integral to the future of our community. I’m delighted as these solar panels will not only help save money and cut running costs by generating our own electricity, but will also allow the borough to become more environmentally friendly.”

You can read about the installations on Merton Council Website here

Watch a video on the installation here