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More Solar Helps Bournemouth University Go Green


Bournemouth University's new flagship Fusion Building incorporating a 95 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) array, designed and installed by Photon Energy, was officially opened September 2016. The Fusion Building, which saw £22 million of investment, aims to provide a state-of-the-art academic space with a minimal carbon footprint. The PV installation is one of a number of measures that has enabled the building to achieve a BREEAM "˜Excellent' rating.

This is the second installation at Bournemouth University by Photon Energy who also designed the PV system at the University's Student Centre which opened in 2015. Willmott Dixon, a major client of Photon Energy, was the main contractor for both projects. Photon Energy had an interesting engineering challenge to integrate the solar panels into the innovative architectural design of the building.

The PV system consists of 276 SunPower 345 Wp high efficiency modules and SMA 3 phase inverters. 206 modules were mounted on a K2 aluminium frame on the octagon shaped standing seam roof. The arrays of PV were carefully installed in order to provide a magnificent aerial view of the roof. Additionally, on the top level flat roof of the building, 70 modules were mounted to a bespoke frame system allowing for integration with a plant room screen. The bespoke screen was designed by Willmott Dixon in collaboration with Photon Energy. This innovative design enabled the black Sunpower modules to blend seamlessly with the plant screen, which enhanced the aesthetic finish of the building.

Photon Energy's project engineer Abu Luswata said: "In addition to the design challenges, we had to ensure the health and safety of our operatives who were coping with some particularly windy weather running up to completion in December 2015. We were pleased to complete the project on time and ultimately the client was very satisfied with the result."

The system is expected to generate 102,060 kWh per year and reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 53 tonnes. Performance is monitored online by the University via SMA's "˜Sunny Portal'. The Sunny Portal is also accessible via the University's intranet allowing remote access 24 hours a day.

The Fusion Building at Bournemouth University (BU) is a state-of-the-art glass-fronted, zinc-clad building that provides the new centre-piece for the BU campus. The building has a striking glass dome roof-top and contains 27 seminar rooms, three lecture theatres, research space and a 24 station PC laboratory.

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