The UK’s largest solar roof uses KACO new energy inverters.

The solar power from this ″rooftop solar park″ amounts to 6.1 megawatts.

Castle Donington / Neckarsulm, 08. April 2015 - Since the beginning of March, 90 of the Neckarsulm-based manufacturer's solar PV inverters have been generating solar power for on-site use at the Marks & Spencer East Midland Distribution Centre in Castle Donington. Totalling 6.1 megawatts, this photovoltaic array belonging to the British retail chain is the largest solar rooftop in the United Kingdom.


24,272 PV modules are spread across the whole roof area of the East Midland Distribution Centre which measures 460 metres by 170 metres. SBC Renewables (SBC) designed a de-centralised system using 90 KACO new energy Powador 60.0 TL3 and four Powador 18.0 TL3 solar PV inverters. One major challenge was just where to put the inverters? The installation of the PV system was also carried out during ongoing distribution centre operations, with access to the 30 metre high roof provided by four external 6 storey stair towers. That being said, the way that SBC managed to design the installation with the inverters so close to the modules was a work of art.

"We settled on the perfect size 50 kVA inverter from KACO new energy as these ticked all the boxes in terms of quality and reliability. They were also an ideal size to lower into the 4x30-metre high roof hatches above the plant rooms. Each has three MPP trackers ideally sized for the proposed layout. The 4-string MPPT's also added shadow tolerance, redundancy and traceability in the event of any string problem", said Dr. Clive Weatherby, Technical Director at SBC.

The solar power from this ″rooftop solar park″ amounts to 6.1 megawatts. This now takes the crown as the largest PV installation on a single rooftop in the United Kingdom. To give an example in terms of figures, the PV array covers the energy supply of 2,000 households. The inverters convert the solar energy into alternating current to be used directly on-site. Marks & Spencer, one of the most established and largest retail chains in the country has therefore created a prime example of commercial self-use of solar power. The backdrop to this is "Plan A", in which Marks & Spencer has set itself the target of covering the entire energy needs of all of their buildings in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 100 % renewable energy sources by 2020.

"We are very pleased to be part of this commitment. I sincerely hope that many more companies will put commercial self-use of solar power on their agendas. In that way we won't need to have long needless discussions about new atomic power stations and their controversial subsidies, such as we are having at the moment with Hinkley Point C", said Ralf Hofmann, CEO of KACO new energy.

About SBC
SBC Renewables Ltd (SBC) is the new name for The Solar Building Company Ltd headquartered in Monmouth, on the UK/Wales border. Formed in July 2011, SBC started as a distributor of PV components with a strong engineering focus. Its core business now is to develop large-scale, grid-connected renewable energy projects. Engineering services have allowed SBC to develop unique solutions for commercial rooftop solar, increasing yield and allowing deployment on roofs that were previously unable to take solar securely. SBC works with its customers to design and develop sites; working with EPCs, ICP's and Financial Institutions for full turnkey solutions. More information at www.sbcrenewables.com

About KACO new energy
KACO new energy is amongst the world's largest manufacturers of solar inverters. With 850 employees and offices in 16 countries, the company offers inverters for every array size from the smallest homes to the largest solar farms of hundreds of Megawatts. KACO new energy is based in Neckarsulm, near Stuttgart, Germany and the production facilities there, in the Americas and Asia have supplied approx. 7 Gigawatts of inverters since 1999. The Company was the first inverter manufacturer to achieve fully carbon-neutral production and is rapidly heading towards power self-sufficiency. KACO new energy also supplies energy storage systems and battery inverters, as well as inverters for combined heat and power plants and CPV systems. In 2014, KACO new energy celebrated the Centenary of the original company which was one of the first suppliers of inverters in the late 1930s. More information at www.kaco-newenergy.com

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