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11 August 2008

Mott MacDonald project manages Scotland’s largest solar power scheme

Building experts from Mott MacDonald were delighted to witness the unveiling of Scotland’s largest solar power generating system last month as hundreds of solar panels were officially activated on the roof of Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Mott MacDonald was appointed by the Scottish Court Service (SCS) to provide project management, mechanical and electrical performance design, cost planning, quantity surveying and technical advice and reviewing services for the project, which will significantly reduce the building’s carbon footprint.

With an active area of 700m2 and an output of 97kWp in optimum conditions, the new Photovoltaic array installation constitutes Scotland’s largest solar power generating system.

Mott MacDonald’s project director, Gilles Charbonnier commented: “Mott MacDonald is proud to have contributed its energy expertise to such a significant scheme. It is a shining example of how low carbon technology can be used to reduce costs and utilities consumption, and improve an existing building’s green credentials.”

He added: “The installation is hoped to have a working life of around 50 years, and it could provide around one fifth of the building’s annual electricity demand once all the efficiency measures planned for the court are in place. By working with Mott MacDonald to find a sustainable solution to their energy needs, the Scottish Court Service is providing strong leadership in meeting the carbon targets of the future.”

The Sheriff’s Court in Glasgow is considered to be the busiest civil and criminal court in Western Europe. With 27,000m2 over five levels and 20courts, it is also the biggest court building in Scotland.

The hundreds of 1.3m x 1m solar panels will cut the court’s energy expenditure by an estimated £20,000 per year, resulting in over 40,000kg reduction of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent to the CO2 produced by electricity use in 30 UK homes.

The elevated position of the array, which cost £500,000, on the court building’s roof ensures the panels are rarely affected by shade from other buildings, optimising their efficiency. The output from the installation will be monitored through a meter in conjunction with a weather station installed on the roof, and the amount of electricity generated will be displayed via a page on the Glasgow Sheriff Court’s website.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Court Service, Eleanor Emberson, said: "This system is already generating enough electricity to cover our out of hours usage. Further investment on building and energy management systems, together with measures to reduce energy consumption, will mean the solar panels can contribute even more of our power requirements.

She added: "Glasgow's new solar system helps us tackle emissions and moves us a step closer towards meeting the Scottish Government's targets for reducing emissions."

The system has generated 20,000kwh since going online in April. This is ahead of the estimate.


Notes for editors

1, Additional technical information

Each 50kWp array consists of 270 x 180W monocrystaline cell modules from Sharp. The monocrystaline cells have an efficiency of around 14%, whereas the more common polycrystalline cells have efficiencies of no more than 12%.

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