Solar powered quaysides at Port of Hull as ABP unveils UK's largest rooftop array
The UK’s largest commercial rooftop solar array has been unveiled at Port of Hull. A staggering 21,000 solar panels form the 6.5MW, GBP6.8 million installation, with Associated British Ports more than doubling its renewable energy generation in the Humber. It equates to serving the needs of 1,450 UK homes, and will green up logistics operations on the quays, alongside investments in electric cranes, forklifts and other vital plant.
Acknowledging the work delivered through the pandemic Simon Bird, ABP’s Humber director, said: “This has been a huge project for ABP and our appointed contractor, Custom Solar, to undertake. “I’m delighted that the Port of Hull now holds the accolade of the UK’s largest, commercial rooftop array. Our ambition is to keep reducing the emissions that port operations generate, by implementing a mix of clean energy production, and investing further in hybridised port equipment.
“Every bit of effort and investment to lower our carbon footprint, contributes to the region’s environmental targets. This scheme and others like it, also help to secure ABP’s energy supply, making great commercial and environmental sense.”
Port of Hull bathes in early morning sunshine as the UK’s largest commercial rooftop solar installation kicks in on the quaysides. (Image: Curtis Creative)
It is estimated the investment will displace 2,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, with the fuel switch to electric and the clean generation over fossil fuels. And with ABP already at the centre of the renewables revolution on the Energy Estuary with offshore wind operations, biomass handling and potential for green hydrogen export, it is playing a key role in the work towards the 2050 Net Zero target.
The project team opted for solar technology as an energy source, aware of the vast roofspace the port offered.
Custom Solar began installing the solar panels in October 2019, following months of planning, with other external partners such as Northern Powergrid involved. More than 7km of fibre cable unites the various buildings with 52 inverters and two transformers completing the set up. Matthew Brailsford, managing director of Chesterfield-based Custom Solar, said: “It’s another proud moment for the Custom Solar team and our client, Associated British Ports, as we deliver yet another iconic rooftop solar system.
Port of Hull, with the UK’s largest commercial rooftop solar array. (Image: Curtis Creative)
“Obviously this one is in a very special bracket all on its own being the UK’s largest.
The project was in planning for nearly two years before beginning construction due to the sheer complexity of the system we delivered, this is yet another reason why the system is incredibly unique and bespoke to the client’s needs and environment. “With carbon reduction, CSR and keen financial savings on the agenda of all large corporations during such a challenging time, we see solar as the perfect fit. The future is solar powered, and we are glad to be leading the way.”
Grimsby is now on the horizon for ABP and Custom. It will take the credentials well beyond the self-supply of 29 per cent of energy requirements this scheme has enabled.
Mr Bird added: “Having now completed the solar arrays on the ports of Immingham, Goole and Hull, ABP has already started work to understand the next phase of our ambition. “Grimsby will be our focus, as the port is home to the growing offshore wind sector, we would once again like to reduce our carbon footprint using a mix of clean energy generation.” ABP launched its core strategy in January 2020, which outlined the company’s commitment to accelerating green energy generation and storage for its port operations, as well as for new manufacturing sites in their ports.
The past two years has seen ABP Humber invest to make the most of its onsite energy generation.
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