Associated British Ports – ABP is the UK’s leading port operator, with a unique network of 21 ports across England, Scotland and Wales. Their ports include Immingham, the UK’s busiest port, and Southampton, the nation’s second largest and most efficient container port, as well as the UK’s number one for cars and cruise.
In 2016 ABP and its customers handled 89 million tonnes of cargo. They support 119,000 jobs and contribute £7.5 billion to the UK economy every year.
ABP have a company wide policy to deliver renewable technology across all operational ports in order to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption.
Custom solar secured a framework partnership with ABP via an OJEU competitive tendering process across the whole of the industry which scored the bidders on a number of factors including; Health & Safety, design & engineering capability, delivery capability and experience in the design and installation of large scale solar projects.
Custom Solar began the planning and grid connection work in 2017 and it was during this process that the challenge to spread the power around the port became real. Due to the sheer size of the port (which covers 14 square miles) Custom Solar had to undertake a fully encompassing private network study which entailed the review of all connection points, sub stations, roof spaces, roof condition and half hourly data across over 100 electrical meters.
It was decided that the jewel in the crown of the installation would be bulk park which handles the bagging of varies loose materials. The three adjoining buildings which make up bulk park have had a total of 2.1MW of solar power installed across their vast roofs. The remaining 1.6MW has been spread over two other prominent buildings on the port.
The challenge did not end at simply installing the chosen power at the available buildings, the largest building (bulk park) did not have a connection capacity large enough to accommodate such a large system. The solution? Custom Solar have installed a bespoke made 2MW transformer which transports the power 600m back to a suitable substation. The new transformer has been mounted inside a GRP enclosure and painted with C5 paint for longevity of life. The installation of the transformer is a project that should win an award on its own, with a civils run that had to contend with the excavations of the two busiest port roads and an operational train track.
In October 2018 the Immingham solar project secured the title of “Commercial Installation of Year” Award at the annual industry “Solar Power Portal & Storage News Awards.
This was an incredibly proud moment for Custom Solar with the project being recognised for the complexity of the design and delivery methods demonstrated and also as the largest rooftop solar installation to be delivered in recent years
Mark Frith, Port Manager for Grimsby and Immingham said: “It’s pivotal that businesses in our region are making a concerted effort to reduce their CO2 emissions. As the UK’s largest port by tonnage, we’re extremely proud to be able to work with professional contractors such as Custom Solar, who have enabled us to make a real difference in reducing our carbon footprint.”
Gary Sucharewycz, Director at Custom Solar UK said: “We are delighted that our works have been recognised in receiving this prestigious award for the Immingham Port solar project. It is one of the largest commercial rooftop installations in the UK over recent years and the design, engineering and installation that went into enabling this project to progress was of the highest standard.
“It is a well-deserved accolade for everyone involved in what has been a real team effort between Custom Solar and ABP. We are very proud to be working with such a forward-thinking client and we look forward to continuing our work together, assisting them to achieve their aspirations in the deployment of renewable energy solutions across UK ports.”