Britain’s bananas now solar powered thanks to port’s 1 MW array
The shipping company responsible for handling 95 per cent of the UK’s bananas is now being powered by clean energy thanks to a 4,500-panel, 1.16 MW rooftop solar system installed at its fruit and vegetable import facility in Portsmouth.
MMD (Shipping Services) Ltd, which imports more than half a million tonnes of produce each year for the nation’s five-a-day, chose EvoEnergy (http://www.evoenergy.co.uk) to install the array on three of the refrigeration warehouses within its 22-acre site.
Now up-and-running, the 7,000sq m system is generating 3,000 kWh per day on average. Thanks to the location in one of the sunniest parts of the UK, the panels could save MMD more 600 tonnes in CO2 emissions over a whole year.
Work was carried out at the end of 2014 by a 10-man team of electricians and installers.
Working without scaffolding 15-metres above the ground, they used highly skilled rope-access techniques, scissor lifts and demarcation markers to complete the work within six weeks without disrupting the company’s 24/7 operation, as EvoEnergy project manager James Sutton explains.
“Because of the nature of the building’s use, with more than 18,500 pallets of FMCGs being stored at once and with dozens of forklifts and vehicles moving in and out, it would have been impossible to use scaffolding here. Planning in downtime simply wasn’t an option for a company like MMD.
“So drawing on our experience of delivering commercial projects for customers working in busy, fast-paced industries, we devised a solution that would get the panels fitted and up-and-running quickly with minimal disruption to their day-to-day operations.
“The finished system is enormous and is already delivering impressive savings. It generated more than 2 MW in power in one day in February recently so when summer arrives on the South Coast the panels should perform even better.”
The growth of MMD (Shipping Services) Ltd has helped Portsmouth to become one of the largest fruit-handling ports in the UK. Now, with this latest renewables project it’s also one of the greenest.
John Clink, technical and facilities manager at MMD (Shipping Services) ltd, said: “The installation process was very good indeed. I’ve been impressed with EvoEnergy’s performance throughout and the people working for them did their jobs brilliantly.
“They didn’t interrupt our business, they stayed out of the way and their health & safety practices were spot on. I would recommend them to any other company considering solar for their business to cut costs and reduce their carbon emissions.”