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UTC Aerospace; UK’s largest community-owned solar roof

The starting point

Low Carbon Hub are a social enterprise based in Oxfordshire. They partnered with Solarcentury to bring solar to a factory roof owned by CTG, a site of UTC Aerospace Systems.

Low Carbon Hub created a Community Benefit Fund to build the system. All the surplus revenue from the project will be invested in renewable energy community projects.

The solution

Solarcentury was chosen as the main EPC contractor, to design and built the 712kWp system. It uses more than 2500 solar panels and will generate enough solar electricity to meet the energy consumption of 150 average-sized UK homes every year.

Low Carbon Hub anticipate a revenue of £140,000 over 20 years to be reinvested.

The roof of UTC’s modern building presented some complex challenges – Solarcentury had to ensure that the existing roof warranty was not invalidated, there were specific health and safety considerations given the construction took place at a live working site (crane lift operations at weekends only), and over 60 roof lights for the workers to contend with.

The construction phase took just three weeks, despite a typical build time for a system being 4-5 weeks. The speedy install was helped by Solarcentury’s positive relationship with the installation contractor, as well as careful planning, organising and excellent communication between all project partners.

The response

Suzanna Lashford, Head of UK Commercial Sales at Solarcentury commented, “Low Carbon Hub chose to work with Solarcentury for this project because of our extensive EPC experience – the company was ranked earlier this year as the number 1 EPC contractor in the UK. We also have considerable experience of working with community energy groups – we have now delivered similar community-owned projects for several co-operatives around the UK.”

Tim Crisp, Business Project Manager, Low Carbon Hub said, “This is the second community energy project we have completed with Solarcentury. You'll see from the stunning footage of the installation how beautiful the solar system looks - it was also skilfully planned, procured and executed. We're looking forward to working with Solarcentury again to develop more energy for public good.”

Power and payback

System size: 712kWp

Annual generation: 593,000 kWh

CO2 savings per year: 232 tonnes

Solar roof system installed by Solarcentury (credit Stone's Throw Media)

Elliott Smith, Lead Project Manager for Rooftop – Europe, at Solarcentury, with other project partners (credit Jim Mayer Ginger Snaps Photography)

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