Solar PV framing system being installed on the roof of the University of Brighton’s Robert Dodd Annex building in Eastbourne last week

Hi folks,

I’m pleased to say that Brighton Energy Coop recently kicked off our latest solar installation – 150kWp of new community-owned solar at the University of Brighton’s Eastbourne Campus.

Our installation partner GenFit began work last Saturday and work is projected to finish in the next ten days or so.

Onsite for our thirteenth community-owned installation, the first step was to attach the mounting system to the University’s Hillbrow Sports Centre and Robert Dodd building (see above)

In a few days time the GenFit will begin bolting the six hundred JA Solar panels to the frames before attaching long runs of cables that tie the modules to our new SolarEdge inverters. Our last three installations have used SolarEdge – this latest generation of inverter enables systems to be monitored panel by panel – so we can remotely how our systems are performing in intimate detail.

Panel by panel analysis of May’s solar output from Portslade Academy’s Solar Edge inverters, which BEC installed in 2016 (click to enlarge). Note the slightly darker blue colour of two pairs of panels in the mid and right areas of the array, indicating low output. This may be due to tiny cracks in the silicon cells within these panels or a wiring fault.

This is great stuff and a big welcome to all our new members who have made the Eastbourne array possible. 41 investments support the new solar; around two thirds are new members, while the remainder of the money came from existing members making new investments in BEC. Eastbourne is our thirteenth installation, and the total value of our systems is now £1.6 million. Woohoo!

This new solar PV more than doubles the University of Brighton’s community-owned PV capacity; the first system at Varley Halls has generated more than 42MWh of clean electricity this year, saving more than £2000 on the University’s electricity bills so far, and tonnes of CO2 along the way.

All this is great work but the really important bit is that Eastbourne proves solar is still do-able under the new Feed in Tariff regime. Nearly 18 months ago solar subsidies were slashed by up to 75%; despite this huge sea change BEC is now able to build new systems within this vastly changed subsidy environment.

We have some great new projects in the pipeline – if you’re interesting in joining us check out our share invitation here; members receive 5% interest on their investment, as well as the opportunity to support more community-owned solar power in our area.

Onward and upward!

Share This