In Plymouth's largest commercial solar installation to date, South West installer SunGift Solar is supporting the unitary authority's ambitions to make Devon's largest city carbon neutral by 2030—a full twenty years ahead of the government's official target.
To help Plymouth City Council meet its net-zero goals, SunGift has to date fitted around 2,300 solar PV (solar photovoltaic) panels on a wide variety of council-owned buildings since winning a competitive tender for the work. The properties benefitting from rooftop arrays include council offices, a refuse center, a depot and the city's multi-award-winning new museum and art gallery, The Box. The smallest of these fit-outs have seen the addition of around thirty solar panels to a single property, the largest more than 900.
Each building presented its own unique set of challenges; for the installation at The Box, for example, SunGift was adding into an existing solar PV system. This created an extra layer of complexity to the design due to the need to get each system to interact efficiently and for the grid connections to work reliably.
The largest installation of 930 panels was at the Highways depot in Prince Rock, which now benefits from the generation of 321kW. On the same site, the admin building has a further 50 panels generating 17kW.
Design know-how is critical for the long-term efficiency of renewable energy systems on large multi-site projects. SunGift has been prominent in the solar PV sector since 2005 and has unrivaled expertise. The company's design capability is at its best-ever level; it now has more highly-skilled employees than ever before with related degrees and real-world experience in electronics and engineering.
Founder and Director Gabriel Wondrausch explains, "SunGift has built up an enviable in-house capability; this makes a huge difference to the design of a system, for example, the way the components interact with the site where they are being installed."
"Ultimately, the longevity of every system is down to the quality of the design."
SunGift is also working on similar projects for Cornwall Council, Devon County and Exeter City—as the South West pushes forward with renewable energy systems to reduce carbon emissions.
Gabriel adds, "Our experience means we can help clients with goals that are often technically difficult. We approach each installation by establishing exactly what can be achieved and ensuring the delivery of efficient, long-lasting systems. "
"The Plymouth City Council schedule of works ran on time and to budget, and we're looking forward to working with the Council for many years to come."
"Our ethos as a business is firmly grounded in a desire to help the environment and combat climate change, so it's gratifying to work with local authorities that don't just talk about climate issues but take action to bring about real change."