Photon Energy (Posted 17.11.14)

Cost-effective power and environmental benefits to last for for 20 years.

A 1MW solar PV system will power a train manufacturing facility in Europe, at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. This will comprise 3,800 of Trina Solar’s high efficiency 265W mono-crystalline solar modules with 28 PowerOne Trio27 inverters.

The PV system will be financed by Macquarie Lending, with Hitachi Rail benefiting from a Power Purchase Agreement, which initially offers electricity discounted to current rates and the certainty of the price being linked to RPI over the next twenty years.

This is the initial project under a framework agreement between solar PV supplier and installer Photon Energy Ltd and Macquarie Lending, which will enable organisations with large roof areas to benefit from long term low cost ‘green’ electricity and lower carbon emissions without investing in the infrastructure.

The arrangement involves an innovative 20-year power purchase model under which Macquarie Lending leases the commercial roof space from the building owner and finances the capital cost of the solar PV installation. In return Macquarie Lending receives the Feed-in-Tariff and sells the electricity generated to the building owner.

Owners of buildings benefit from the certainty of linking their electricity price to RPI for 20 years, and a smaller carbon footprint due to their use of solar power. At the end of the 20 year contract period they take on ownership of the solar PV installation and will continue to benefit from the power generated for the remainder of the working life of the solar PV modules.

“The arrangement lends itself to such applications as data centres, distribution hubs, manufacturing facilities and airports, to name but a few,” said Rob Alford, Photon Energy’s commercial manager, who negotiated Photon Energy’s first contract with Hitachi Rail. “It is suitable for organisations with extensive roof space that also use a lot of electricity, without involving them in capital expenditure they may not wish to make.”

Photon Energy’s initial project under the agreement starts at the beginning of October 2014, and comprises a 1MW solar PV system for Hitachi Rail Europe’s first manufacturing facility in Europe, which is currently being built by Merchant Place Developments, Shepherd Construction and Network Rail at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. This will comprise 3800 Trina Solar’s high efficiency 265W mono-crystalline solar modules with 28 PowerOne Trio27 inverters. It is due for completion in January 2015.

The £82 million, 44000 m2, state of the art manufacturing facility will initially be used to manufacture the new Intercity Express trains which will operate on the Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Line.