Morrisons Supermarkets

Award-winning 1MW rooftop installation at Morrison’s RDC in Bridgwater

Award-winning 1MW rooftop installation at Morrison’s RDC in Bridgwater nominated as Best Commercial Rooftop Installation 2013 at the Solar Power Portal Awards (with GMI Energy)

On behalf of GMI Energy, Paul Osborne successfully project managed the Bridgwater Project and the whole Morrisons Stores solar rollout.

GMI Energy’s award-winning 1MW rooftop installation at Morrison’s RDC in Bridgwater is roughly 20 times the size of the typical 50kWp systems currently being fitted by the team at Morrison’s new stores. The project is a fantastic example of what renewable energy technologies can achieve in large commercial spaces and in recognition of this, Solar Power Portal recently nominated Bridgwater as Best Commercial Rooftop Installation 2013 at the Solar Power Portal Awards, describing it as simply "a cracking project".

Ray Noble, Photovoltaic Specialist at the Renewable Energy Association and judge at the awards said "The judges chose this project due to exemplary use of the new roof space, mounting panels both East and West to maximise the generation area available. The installation was designed to be totally invisible from ground level while generating a significant contribution to the buildings electricity requirements. The judges felt that this clearly demonstrates what the future should be for all buildings of this type and this example should encourage others to follow".

Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, also commented on the project saying, "The Coalition is committed to delivering the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs. Solar PV plays an important role in helping us to meet this challenge. GMI Energy’s award winning project fitting solar panels to the Morrison’s distribution centre in Bridgwater is a terrific example of how solar PV can be successfully deployed on large scale commercial rooftops. I am keen to see more developments like this in the future."

Award-winning 1MW rooftop installation at Morrison’s RDC in Bridgwater

Planning and Design

Due to the scale of the system it was necessary to seek planning permission prior to project commencement. The GMI Energy team successfully completed this on behalf of Morrison's, alongside connection approval from the Distribution Network Operator (DNO). The DNO approval was subject to some unusual requirements due to the size of the system; it specified that advanced monitoring equipment must be fitted to record the tolerance of voltage and frequency as well as a G59 relay that enables the system to be disconnected if necessary. The GMI Energy team again completed these complex technical aspects in-house.

The Bridgwater design required some very complicated engineering of the structure to calculate the maximum capability of the existing structural frame, taking into account the suspended load of the internal fridge box. All this work was carried out using our highly experienced construction professionals. The panel layout was designed to fit according to the optimum available roof area, taking into account shading constraints from pipes, parapets and extract flues.

Installation

The system was installed in just 8 weeks with minimal disruption to the daily activities at the busy distribution centre, as the team fitted 4128 Canadian Solar panels and 29 Power One inverters housed in a bespoke frame. GMI Energy appointed a Site Manager to remain on site for the duration of the project and liaise regularly with Morrison’s RDC Site Managers to make arrangements for cranage and other essential activities. The project was implemented according to a detailed Construction Phase Plan (CPP) that is fully compliant with CDM regulations and British Health and Safety Standard BS OHSAS 18001.

In the final stages of the project it was necessary to shut down all power at the site whilst the system was connected. Given the scale of the operations at Morrison’s RDC Bridgwater and the value of the goods within the chilled warehouse, it was vital that this stage was conducted with the greatest care and efficiency. Timing was crucial because the shutdown could only take place on one of two days in the year. The shut down was successfully overseen by GMI Energy’s Construction Director following a trial shut down, which highlighted several issues including a fault with the standby generator in one of the chilled warehouses.

Performance monitoring

Following completion of the project the team installed advanced monitoring hardware that will enable Morrison’s to track their electricity production on an hourly basis. Thanks to a careful design combined with an excellent summer the system is already generating well above what it was forecast to generate and already contributing around 17% of the site’s daily electricity needs during the summer months.

Over its 25 year lifetime the Bridgwater system is expected to save somewhere in the region of 8,600 tonnes of CO2e emissions.

MD of GMI Energy, Carl Nielsen, commented "The Morrison’s project has presented us with some exciting challenges to overcome. We are delighted that everything is going so well and we look forward to continuing our work as a Morrison’s Stores PLC framework partner."

Paul Osborne, Qintec Electrical Engineering Consultants Paul Osborne, Qintec Electrical Engineering Consultants Paul Osborne, Qintec Electrical Engineering Consultants Paul Osborne, Qintec Electrical Engineering Consultants Paul Osborne, Qintec Electrical Engineering Consultants