28 February 2020

More Solar Panelling for Steenbergs

Steenbergs has targeted net carbon zero by 2025. We've just installed more solar panelling that removes 60% of carbon from our energy consumption.

More Solar Panelling for Steenbergs

Steenbergs has a target of net carbon zero by 2025.

We have a 5 stage plan to achieve this, with stages 1 to 3 now complete.  Stage 1 was improved housekeeping (staff training, switching off lights, computers and servers). Stage 2 was better energy efficiency in the electrical equipment we use, so in 2019, for example, all our IT (computers and server) and phones were renewed and LED lighting was installed throughout Steenbergs, as well as additional motion sensors to switch off lighting when no-one is around.

Stage 3 was to add more solar panelling on our buildings.  This was slightly delayed because of the weather - horrendously windy and wet, then snow and freezing cold conditions here in North Yorkshire in February - and equipment issues because supply from China has been delayed because of the covid-19 epidemic.  But scaffolding went up a couple of weeks ago (14 February), then the solar panels were fitted while we waited for the Solis inverters to arrive.  These were fitted this week and 11 Hallikeld Close was connected to the grid, so now we can feed in any excess energy generated (weekends and out-of-hours).

In total, the additional photovoltaic cells have 12 kW installed generation capacity, which we reckon will give us 10 kW in our colder, darker North Yorkshire climate than Cornwall, for example.  This removes 5 tonnes CO2 every year, and means Steenbergs generates over 40% of its total power needs from its own solar energy through photovoltaic cells on 6 and 11 Hallikeld Close.  We think that's good going and we're proud of getting this done - real progress not just empty promises!

In terms of Steenbergs carbon reduction targets, this means that we have now hit a -67.5% reduction versus our target of -100% by 2025.  So, we're looking good to hit our goals - probably well before 2025.

The next stage is to switch the balance of our energy supply to 100% green energy suppliers as each electricity supply contract comes up for renewal.  This will take us to 100% energy from green supply, with as much as possible from own generation rather than merely sourcing green electricity.

That makes zero carbon eminently achievable.

For those with an interest in the detail, the cost was £10,500 and the specification was:

36 x 330 W Canadian Solar solar PV panels (11.8 kW)
3 x Ginlong Solis 3.6 kW inverters
German solar PV roof mounting kit
AC & DC cabling
AC & DC wiring installation
MCS Compliance Certificate
NICEIC Electrical Wiring Certificate
Geo display device 

As part of the project, we kept the skylights in place, so allowing us to maintain the use of natural lighting as much as possible in our tea packing area; sunlight is much more enjoyable to work in and healthier.

You can see the skylights and the panels in these photos of the installation: