U.S. Company Installs Major Solar Array in Britain

Solar module manufacturer AstroPower has installed systems on two environmentally advanced buildings in Britain.

NEWARK, Delaware (US) 2002-01-28 [SolarAccess.com] Both buildings, located in a business park in Wales, feature a 13.2 kW APex(TM) solar array. The combined system, designed and installed by Dulas Ltd, will generate 23 MWh of electricity a year. Each array comprises 110 PV modules, which incorporate AstroPower’s 8″ cells manufactured from the company’s continuous-sheet Silicon-Film process. The roof-mounted PV arrays will produce most of the power required for the 3,228 ft2 buildings. Visitors will be able to view the amount of electricity produced from the solar systems, as well as total consumption of the buildings, through LCD displays in each lobby. Excess power will be sold back to the utility. “The opinion that the U.K. is not well-suited for solar is rapidly waning,” says Guy Watson of Dulas. “With a grant program for renewable energy pending, and applications such as this to prove the potential of solar power, the U.K. will soon expand its current two megawatts of installed solar electric power.” In addition to PV systems, the buildings feature passive solar heating, natural ventilation, and recycled newspaper and cellulose insulation inside timber walls. Designed for low-energy use, the buildings have received the highest grading under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. BREEAM is an international method to determine the quality, energy use, and environmental and health implications of new building developments. “As one of the U.K.’s largest solar arrays, the installation will enable more British consumers to see the benefits of solar technology and provides further evidence that the time for grid-connected solar electric power is now,” says Allen Barnett, CEO of AstroPower. “This system is a good demonstration of the effectiveness of distributed solar power generation in a country that is not often associated with solar power.”

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