West Midlands Police – Western Custody Suite

About the client

West Midlands Police is the second largest police force in the country, covering an area of 348 square miles and serving a population of almost 2.8 million.

The force deals with more than 2,000 emergency calls for help every day, as well as patrolling the streets and responding to incidents 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

Drivers for the project

The Police Authority wanted to invest in technology to reduce their Carbon Emissions and help save on energy costs.


We secured this project via a competitive tendering process and worked as the main contractor under a JCT Contract for the Design, Installation, commissioning of a solar installation onto the roof of the Western Custody Suite 143.55 kWp.


This 2-week project saw the installation of a 143.55kWp solar system, utilising 522 No. 275Wp panels and 3 No. 36kW Huawei inverters. Suitable isolators, a new dedicated PV distribution board and generation meter were installed and fitted seamlessly into the sites existing electrical network.

It will produce enough electricity (115,342 kWh per annum) to power 31 residential homes per year or power 52 electric cars. After 25 years in operation the project is predicted to have saved 217.5 tonnes of CO2e, an equivalent of 1,125,508 fossil fuelled car miles, 143 fossil fuelled cars off the road and 870 pine trees planted.


The site was equipped with backup generation, so the inverters had to be connected to the non-essential side of the main site distribution board. The inverters themselves had to be installed on bespoke framing with DC cable running directly down from overhead. A lack of 3G signal meant a high gain antenna was required to be installed.

Given the nature of the building which is one of the largest custody suites in the midlands a formal vetting process of all Custom Solar staff was required to meet security standards along with a building access plan which was critical to allow access without interfering with public access to this 24hr operational site

Roof access also included the addition of walkways to protect the roof surface and allow easier access for any future maintenance needs.


The initial programme was to complete the installation within two weeks and we successfully delivered a fully commissioned system following a client handover within this period despite issues with weather conditions. We also have a contract to operate and maintain the system for which to date the system is performing 10% over the predicted yield.

Project details

System size
143.55 KWP
Panel Manufacturer
BYD 275
Number of panels
Inverter Manufacturer
Estimated System Annual Performance
115,342 KWH
217.5 TONNES
Completion date
March 2019
West Midlands Police – Western Custody Suite website