Solar PV Deployment

Frankham Consultancy Group supported KH Engineering and Southeastern in delivery of the largest solar PV deployment on the rail network outside of London.

  • Frankham Consultancy Group is proud to have worked closely with Southeastern on the delivery of what is believed to be the largest deployment of solar PV on the rail network outside of Central London.
  • The £2.2m project involved train berthing sheds at Grove Park (London), Gillingham and Ramsgate (Kent), West Marina (East Sussex) Light Maintenance Depots (LMD).
  • This project follows Frankham Consultancy Group’s detailed review and assessment of a number of train stations and maintenance depot buildings across the South Eastern rail network on behalf of Southeastern.
  • This process included a review of renewable energy technologies, selection of solar PV as the preferred technology, a detailed review of half-hourly electricity data, development of scheme economics, support with supplier procurement, review of structures, Network Rail Assurance, Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) accreditation, and support around Power Purchase  Agreements (PPA) and Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO)
  • A total of 690 kWp was installed across the four sites by early 2019 and the arrays are generating good amounts of clean energy that is being used to displace grid electricity.
  • The largest array at Ramsgate LMD (330kWp) is expected to generate around 300 MWh of clean electricity each year.
  • Results to date indicate that grid electricity consumption at each site has reduced by at least one-third and up to 43%. During July, for example, there are now extended periods of time during the day when the depots are importing no or very little power from the grid.

Solar panels are an ideal technology for the railway, providing they can be installed, operated and maintained safely. By working intensively on the planning of this project it is pleasing to see the solar panels now appearing at strategic locations on the London, Kent and East Sussex network.

Solar PV was assessed to be the most operationally suitable technology, and one that incurred minimal intervention, post-installation. Extensive temporary and permanent access systems were required to provide safe working conditions because of the proximity to the operational railway and remote monitoring has been built in to identify any loss of performance requiring maintenance intervention.

The existing 1940s buildings (Ramsgate built some 50 years later) are relatively lightweight and required some investigation and civil engineering expertise by Frankham Consultancy Group to assure Network Rail that they could carry the additional weight of PV panels and associated access ways.

This project has not been without its challenges, but by creating an effective partnership including the Department for Transport and Network Rail, Southeastern has delivered a first for the rail industry. A great deal was learned from the London Blackfriars station solar power project in London and this was applied successfully to this Southeastern project. Ultimately, solar power is good for the planet and our railway, but this also makes good business sense.

Renewable energy has an important role to play, and Frankham join Southeastern to encourage all train companies to follow this lead and deliver additional renewable energy capacity to help decarbonise the rail network.

Southeastern Project Manager Steve Martin said:

“Solar panels are an ideal technology for the railway, providing they can be installed safely. We’ve worked intensively on the planning of this project and we’re pleased to see the solar panels now appearing at strategic locations on our network. We believe that these are the first sizeable renewable energy assets to be delivered anywhere on the UK railway network outside central London – and it’s something which we are very proud of”.

Peter Stapleton, Head of Facilities at Southeastern, said:

“Renewable energy has an important role to play, and we’d encourage all train companies to follow our lead and deliver additional renewable energy capacity to help decarbonise the rail network.

“This project has not been without its challenges, but by creating an effective partnership with Department of Transport and Network Rail we’ve delivered a first for the rail industry. We learned a great deal from the Blackfriars Bridge solar power project in London and applied this successfully to our own depots. Ultimately, solar power is good for the planet and our railway, but this also makes good business sense.”

Southeastern investigated the use of renewable energy systems as part of its current Direct Award Contract obligations. Solar PV was deemed to be the most operationally suitable technology, and one that incurred minimal intervention, post-installation. Extensive temporary access systems were required to enable safe working conditions because of the proximity to the operational railway.

Client:
Southeastern


Services:
CDM
Infrastructure Engineering
Principal Designer
Project Management
Structural & Civil Engineering