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HBS New Energies kick-start a 4-year Renewable Energy Framework in partnership with the Coal Authority with the the completion of a 384 kWp solar PV scheme. By increasing on-site generation through solar power, the authority has been able to offset costs at their mine water treatment facilities, whilst enhance their sustainable operations.

In 2017, The Coal Authority (TCA) appointed HBS New Energies as a principal contractor on a 4-year Renewable Energy Framework. The key aim, to innovate, develop and deliver solar PV and energy storage solutions across their 75 mine water treatment sites in the UK.

The Coal Authority awarded three water treatment sites to HBS through a competitive tender at the first round of auctions. Following feasibility, our project delivery team designed, installed and successfully energised ground mount solar panel systems at Chester South Moor, Deerplay and Old Meadow. All works completed in line with a tight build schedule and in challenging weather conditions.

HBS’s technical team are now working closely with TCA on the feasibility and development of three further schemes. These solar assets have been programmed be constructed and operational during Summer 2018. These PV plants will further increase on-site generation across their water treatment facilities delivering energy and carbon savings, whilst helping build a sustainable legacy.

Project delivery

  • Under the contract, HBS New Energies managed all stages of this multi-site project. From feasibility, design and supply, right through to construction, commissioning and operation. Works included all groundwork’s and support with the ROO-FIT application.
  • During feasibility, we conducted ground investigation surveys to show site access, toxicology and ground condition. Through our findings we identified that the proposed sites at both Deerplay and Old Meadow had limited access and included areas of soft soil land with a 30-degree angle incline or more.
  • To best overcome these challenges and ensure the solar PV systems would meet performance targets within budget, we engineered an innovative ground anchored mounting system from UK manufacturer Solarport Systems. Dubbed spirafix, it uses spiral-shaped ground anchors that twist outwards from the main mount. This removed the need for a costlier piling rig and the risk of using heavy plant machinery on the steep unstable ground.
  • Our in-house team managed the electrical design, ground works design and all aspects of the physical installations for each site, adhering to the contract and required performance targets.
  • HBS took all necessary action to ensure we completed the ground works, construction and the testing and commissioning of all PV arrays to a high-quality standard, in-line with health and safety and on-site security requirements. Throughout the construction process, our project team worked in close consultation with Seven Trent Services (STS) who manage the facilities for the client.
  • Before energising each PV system, HBS’s site management team liaised with STS and ENWL to organise facility shutdown to minimise disruption to the water treatment process. To accommodate any unforeseen weather the team remained flexible on site to make sure the facilities operations was not affected.
  • We provided a comprehensive handover for the client and partners. This included a site-specific H&S file and bespoke O&M manual. The client and STS received a full demonstration of the PV system operations at the three water treatment facilities.
  • The 394 kWp solar PV scheme now complete and commissioned, is set to generate over 317,000 kWh of zero carbon electricity each year from renewable energy sources and deliver 167.72 tonnes in annual carbon savings. It demonstrates how renewable energy technologies can reduce an organisation like The Coal Authority’s reliance on grid energy and more importantly how it can help resolve the impact of mining in the UK.
  • The success of this solar PV framework highlights how HBS New Energies capitalised on its expertise in design, construction and engineering to deliver an innovative solution to support The Coal Authorities sustainability and enhanced performance goals. The project’s success has ensured the viability of future PV schemes planned for the next 4 years. Three further ground mounted solar projects totalling more than 1MW have now been completed as part of phase 2 and can be viewed here.

Project summary

    Locations Deerplay, Chester South Moor & Old Meadow   
    Modules  Q Cell   
    Total scheme size 384 kWp    
    Total annual output  317,065 kWh    
    Inverter  Sungrow    
    Total annual CO2 savings  167.72 t    

We were very pleased with the responsiveness and commitment given by HBS New Energies to deliver these projects against tight deadlines. It’s great to see the immediate benefit brought by the solar arrays in terms of low carbon sustainability and operational cost savings.

Phil Broughton, Project Manager, The Coal Authority Services

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