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Switching On Solar

Southampton Science Park has been given the green light to switch on solar panels at Kenneth Dibben House in a move that will generate 207 MWh of electricity and save 50 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. The majority of the energy produced will be consumed by resident companies with any surplus being sold back to the Grid.

Kenneth Dibben House, which comprises office and meeting space for a number of businesses, including some with significant energy demand for research and development work, was revealed to be the prime location on the park, following analysis conducted by former Catalyst business accelerator company, Absolar.

Absolar founder, Dr Phil Wu, said: “Our technology, using remote survey, demonstrated that this building has great solar potential as well as the shortest payback period, even before recent energy price increases are taken into account. Throughout the project, we worked closely with Southampton Science Park to ensure the design, installation and commissioning was carried out successfully.”

Stuart Perry, Operations Manager at the Science Park, oversaw the works. He commented: “This project has been a fantastic learning curve throughout, and I’ve gained a vast amount of insight working with the team at Absolar throughout the process.

“Although we have been developing the idea for some time as part of our sustainability agenda, our first solar panel installation was surprisingly quick, taking just a couple of weeks, despite storm Eunice halting work on the roof for a couple of days!

“The expectation is that our solar panels will reduce our energy bills by around £600,000 over their 25 year lifetime, while helping to reduce the carbon emissions of not only the Science Park but all of the companies in Kenneth Dibben House. As long as the system delivers in line with expectations, we intend to extend solar power to other suitable premises. Furthermore, other residents have expressed an interest in their own installations and are carrying out feasibility analysis for their own buildings. I’m excited to see where this momentum leads.”

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