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  • Photovoltaic panels

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MG RENEWABLES - Solar Power Install Is The Biggest Ever For Pioneers

Notts-based solar energy pioneers, MG Renewables, have completed the fit out of one of the UK’s largest ever solar thermal installations at Nottingham Trent University, as part of UPP’s multi-million pound student accommodation project at the University’s Clifton campus.

As part of the scheme, which was built using UPP’s Eco Residence model for sustainable development, MG Renewables installed solar panels on the roof of each of the 12 accommodation blocks.

In what is one of the UK’s largest ever solar power installations, a total of 132 solar panels have been installed, each 46 sq ft and covering a total area of more than 6000 sq ft.

The panels provide 33,000 litres of hot water each day and will save 61 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to 204,000 road miles. The landmark project means that 727 students are now able to enjoy hot water powered by the sun’s energy.

The construction of the new student accommodation at Nottingham Trent University began back in January 2011.

On completion of the project, Sean O’Shea, Chief Executive of UPP, said: “The development has been designed with sustainability in mind, and we hope students moving in this year will enjoy living in this new, high quality scheme. This project is a great example of how UPP’s bespoke partnership approach helps universities to achieve their strategic objectives. I’d like to thank everyone involved in delivering this project, and we look forward to continuing to work with the university going forward.”

The Clifton campus development is one of dozens the MG Renewables team has worked on across the UK and the biggest they have undertaken to date.

Solar energy is becoming more popular than ever, thanks in part to new Government incentives to promote renewable energy sources. The new incentives, which came into force in 2010 have seen a sharp rise in the number of solar energy companies throughout the UK, but MG Renewables is already established and respected providers in the field having been one of the very first solar power companies in the region when they launched back in 2006.

MG Renewables’ reputation as solar power pioneers has been enhanced by the passion of company directors Martin Dowd and Gerry Kennedy, for renewable energy and the environment.

MG Renewables is one of the only “one stop shops” for renewable power in the region – supplying both electricity generating Solar PV systems and hot water producing solar thermal systems, as well as ground source and air source heat pumps.

Mr Dowd said: “We are delighted to have been involved in this project, providing and installing the solar thermal system for one of the largest installations undertaken in the UK to date. We launched MG Renewables five years ago when most people thought of solar power as science fiction. That’s all changed now and we are finding we are busier than ever as more and more people and institutions wake up to the benefits of renewable energy.”

Business partner Gerry Kennedy added: “Around 90% of all inquiries are driven by environmental awareness. People are becoming increasingly passionate about reducing their carbon footprint and the Government incentives now mean there are financial drivers too.”

Mr Dowd, who spent seven years working in renewables in the USA before moving to Nottingham in 2005, first became interested in energy when wind farms started to appear close to his childhood home in Northern Ireland when he was a youngster. He said: “Until I saw a wind farm I had no idea we could use the environment to generate power. It was a revelation which sparked a passion in me.”

He went on to study at University of Ulster which has a major research facility for Sustainable Technologies, gaining an engineering degree in 1998.

He said: “Whilst living in the States I visited an Eco house where I saw something that amazed me. The electricity meter was running backwards.

“The house had solar panels on the roof that were generating so much electricity the home owner was able to sell it to the power company.

“I realised it would be possible to do the same thing back home. People can turn their own homes into solar power stations and then reduce their utility bills by selling electricity to the national grid, or heating their hot water without turning the boiler on.

“We have now helped hundreds of homeowners to do the same and it’s something we get tremendous satisfaction from.”

Mr Kennedy added: “People think the weather in the UK and Ireland isn't suitable for solar power to work well but that is a myth. Solar energy systems work even on overcast days.

“The technology we have available now means solar power can be a reality for everyone. From private home owners to large businesses.

“People now understand what is happening with global warming and they increasingly want to explore alternatives to traditional fossil fuels.

“We can even advise people how to turn their homes into solar power stations. Then they can reduce their utility costs by selling their electricity to the grid. That way they save their wallet as well as the environment.”

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