The University of the West of England (UWE) has announced plans to bolster its rooftop solar installation and combine it with a CHP plant to reduce its exposure to peak-time pricing.
The university also claims that the increased capacity of its roof-mounted solar array – 450kWp – will make it the largest rooftop array in the UK’s higher education market.
The system atop UWE’s Frenchay Campus is to be quadrupled in size and will, when complete, comprise 1,700 modules. The system is expected to generate more than 400MWh of electricity each year, 100% of which will be used by the campus.
The university is investing £650,000 in the project, but expects it to save as much as £55,000 each year, equivalent to a payback period of circa 12 years. UWE’s University Enterprise Zone and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory will benefit from the install and it is hoped the installation will provide more as much as half of the two facilities’ total demand.
The university is to also develop a CHP system on-site, providing renewable heat to the campus’ buildings including a new Student’s Union and accommodation.
“The University is committed to sustainability and energy efficiency, and this project is part of a wider plan to invest in projects that will help the University achieve our carbon reduction goals. As a large organisation we want to set an example for others to undertake similar projects,” Jeddere-Fisher said.
“With both the Solar PV and CHP on site, it puts us in a strong position for demand-side response projects, and on-site energy storage, so that energy generated earlier in the day could be stored to be used at peak times (e.g. 5-7pm) when demand on the UK grid is greatest. This not only will reduce fixed charges to the University, but can have a positive impact on the national grid,” Jeddere-Fisher added.