RenEnergy has started construction of a 1.9MW solar Photo Voltaic (PV) plant at the Briar Chemicals site in Norwich, UK.

The PV array will provide low carbon energy directly into the Briar facility, with any surplus generation going to the national energy grid. The development will be built on a site adjacent to the plant, utilising an otherwise undeveloped plot of land to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 400 houses, and offset 860 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Unique PPA funding model

The solar array will be installed at no capital cost to Briar; rather it will be owned and maintained by RenEnergy, selling the energy produced in a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This in itself is not an unusual business model, with PPA deals becoming an increasingly common way for business to fund solar PV. However, this project is unique in its deployment of a ‘market tracking’ PPA model, whereby RenEnergy offers a percentage discount on whatever rate Briar can negotiate on the energy market, ensuring that they never pay more for their renewable energy than they would from the grid, even in the unlikely scenario that energy prices crash.

This funding innovation is just one way that RenEnergy is trying to adjust to a post-subsidy market, in order to deliver savings and sustainability to as many businesses as possible. Read more about PPA funded solar in post-subsidy Britain here.

Mounting frame ready for PV panels

Keeping business competitive and sustainable

Over the 25-year life of the project, the discount will amount to significant operational savings, helping Briar remain competitive and sustainable in a global market, whilst complimenting the operation of the existing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant.

Tim Green, Executive Director and Site Manager said: “This is an exciting project; it will allow us to use power generated from the sun and use it within our manufacturing processes.  This will enable us to focus on production of cost-effective high quality chemicals, knowing that we are doing so in an extremely environmentally friendly way.”

Damian Baker, MD of RenEnergy said: “We have been working with Briar for over nine months to deliver this project. The system had to be designed to ensure it met the high standards demanded in this engineering sector and is a real testament to all involved.”

The installation will consist of 6,508 Solar World PV panels connected to 84 Fronius inverters. The ground frame used to mount the panels was designed and manufactured by Hi-Span in Wymondham, part of RenEnergy’s policy to use local suppliers whenever possible.

Designed in order for peak generation to coincide with Briar’s peak energy load. The solar plant will produce approximately 1,800,000 kWh of energy a year, of which over 70% will be consumed on site, with the surplus being exported for use elsewhere on the electricity grid.

Specially designed ground frame from Hi-Span, Wymondham

Improved biodiversity

In addition to the generation of low carbon energy, the ground array will enhance the biodiversity of the area, providing shelter and habitat to a wide variety of insects, animals and wildflowers, further adding to the green credentials of the project.

More about Briar Chemicals 

Briar Chemicals deliver chemical synthesis, formulation, packing and shipping services to customers across the globe. From their site in Norwich, they service world-leading companies in the crop protection, fine and speciality sectors, utilising a broad asset and technology base, underpinned by quality driven project management and operational excellence.