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SOUTH FACING - Advanced Solar Power Solution Sets New Standard For Airport Energy Efficiency

As part of a major drive to maximise sustainability and minimise carbon emissions, the new arrivals hall at Bournemouth Airport has taken full advantage of the latest photovoltaic (PV) technologies and energy reduction techniques to become what is believed to be Europe’s first carbon neutral airport building. More than 325 high performance PV panels have been installed on the new arrivals hall by PV specialists, South Facing, using a purpose designed ballast and mounting system to maintain the design and structural integrity of the building’s lightweight steel roof.

Construction of the new arrivals hall forms part of a comprehensive £45m redevelopment programme at the airport and the large PV installation is the latest sustainability initiative by the airport’s owners, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), to fulfil its commitment to making Bournemouth Airport carbon neutral for its ground operations by 2012. Using South Facing’s specialist knowledge and expertise to capitalise on the design, orientation and location of the new terminal, the airport is now generating a significant proportion of its power in the arrivals hall using the latest clean energy technology.

The solar array has a total peak power of 74.98kWp and features 326 Moser Baer 230W PV modules facing due south. Just under a half of the total number of modules are mounted directly onto the south facing 30° pitch of the two north roof lights, with the remainder clamped on ballasted aluminium A frames at a pitch of 15° set in rows across the remainder of the lightweight steel roof. Significantly, the ballast and mounting system was designed to avoid penetration of the roof membrane, to resist potential salt damage as a result of the coastal location and to meet the specified load limitations of the lightweight roof structure.

Four SMA Tripower 17000TL Inverters have been mounted on the south side of the roof Plant Deck to convert electricity generated by the poly crystalline panels from DC to AC and the system is connected to the grid using a new relay panel installed in the ground floor switch room.

By working closely with the building contractors (Warings) and structural engineers and overcoming the technical challenges of the project, South Facing successfully completed the complex installation on schedule with the new Arrivals Hall officially opened in time for the main summer holiday season. The solar array is now generating an annual return on investment of over 11% for the airport and has reduced annual carbon emissions by over 40 tonnes.

“The project certainly posed some technical challenges,” says Clive Collison, Managing Director of South Facing. “But, such an advanced and comprehensive solar power installation takes full advantage of southern orientation of the new Terminal’s roof and the fact that the airport is located in one of the sunniest areas in the country. For a client that is so committed to the use of renewable energy technology and the reduction of carbon emissions, the new system provides a highly efficient and sustainable solution with an excellent return on investment.”

According to Rob Goldsmith, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport the solar power installation at is a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to a sustainable future. “We believe the new arrivals hall to be Europe’s first carbon neutral airport building and the new solar panel system is at the heart of its energy-efficient design and specification. What’s more the new building features passive lighting and ventilation throughout, solar shading, the use of air source heat pumps and a computerised building management system that controls the heating, lighting and cooling to maximise resource efficiency. In every respect it is an airport building for the future.”

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