Sun is shining on Bristol's biggest solar panel system
One year after the largest solar panel system in Bristol was installed on the roof of the At-Bristol attraction, staff have revealed that the panels are proving more efficient than they had imagined.
A total of 208 individual panels were fitted on the Harbourside science centre’s roof measuring an area approximately the size of two tennis courts. It was estimated that the panels would create the equivalent power to supplying a dozen homes a year – but in fact the amount has been beaten by two households, equating to 14 in reality.
As a result, it has reduced the centre’s carbon footprint even further than initially planned. The 50 kilowatt peak (kWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) system provides a renewable source of energy for the building and its planned prevention of more than 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year from entering the atmosphere has also been beaten by nearly 3,000kg of CO2.
Chris Dunford, At-Bristol’s sustainability manager, said: “The results we’ve produced over the year have been brilliant, and exceeding what we planned is fantastic. It’s been interesting to see when the solar panels perform at their best, as well as their worst – it’s not actually the hottest days that produce the most amount of energy as there’s almost too much heat for the panels to cope with, instead it’s bright but cool days they work at their most efficient.
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“Our best month was May last year when we produced 6,791 kWh of electricity during the month, with the best day being May 26, where our readings were 358 kWh in one day alone.
“For the year our plan was 47,000 kWh and we actually managed 48,637 kWh and this was even with three days when the panels were effectively out of action with a reading of zero with the heavy snowfall in January.
“We obviously can’t predict the weather but knowing our solar panels are capable of producing more than we first hoped is very good.”