Published On: Wed, Feb 17th, 2016

Sapa Profiles supports SBC Renewables in developing UK’s largest single-span PV roof

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IMG_2318 - CopySapa Profiles UK has recently supported solar PV consultancy SBC Renewables in the development of what is thought to be the largest single-span roof site of photovoltaics in the UK.  SBC Renewables won the Solar Power Portal Award in the Commercial-scale rooftop 250kw+ category for their PV roof at Marks & Spencer’s Castle Donington Distribution Centre. 

Judges looked at all aspects of the project’s development from planning and client engagement, to design, construction and financing. The benefits delivered to the client and the impact on their business during and after connection were considered during judging. The awards ceremony took place at The Vox, Resort World in Birmingham, UK where Dave Murphy, Design Manager and Amanda Brown, Sales Manager, who provided the design and commercial support from Sapa Profiles on this project, joined SBC to collect the award.

Nearly all of the award-winning, 900,000sq ft. roof is covered in solar panels, making the installation the largest single-span PV roof in the country. Sapa Profiles worked closely with SBC Renewables to create a completely bespoke designed support framing system. The framework, created with Sapa’s aluminium extrusions, is used to clamp the solar modules and to facilitate their connection to the metal sheet roofing.

Sapa’s designers worked with the technical team at SBC Renewables to transform ideas into practical tooling designs. Sapa carried out rigorous stress analysis on the designs, giving all parties confidence that the end product is safe and compliant with all current and proposed legislation and quality standards.

The project used approximately 50km or 60 tonnes of extruded aluminium rail in total. Aluminium was the obvious material of choice for this application, as it has the best strength to weight ratio.

One of the challenges of the project was mounting the rail over areas of the roof where additional loads were not possible. The solution reached by Sapa and SBC Renewables used cantilever beams to span these areas, making this a truly unique rail system.

The project utilises both north and south facing aspects of the five-apex roof and has a capacity of 6.068MWp (megawatt peak). The power generated by the installation will be used by the already environmentally-efficient, automated distribution centre directly below.

Sapa first worked with SBC Renewables just over two years ago and recently collaborated on their PV OverRoof™ product.

Dave Murphy, Design Manager at Sapa Profiles UK comments “We have worked successfully with SBC Renewables before and were delighted when they chose Sapa Profiles again for this project. This award stands testament to what can be achieved when specialist expertise, teamwork and precision planning are brought together and put into practice”.

When Clive Weatherby, Technical Director at SBC was asked how he found the working relationship with Sapa Profiles on this project, he said “there was never any doubt in my mind that the product would pass the rigorous testing we undertook at BRE as the technical analysis at SAPA was of the highest caliber.  Technical assistance was always at hand whenever required” 

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