Power Station to start generating solar power

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Solar power to the people: (L to R) Sunworks' founder and Director Mark Brandon with JE Engineer Mark Le Vesconte, Operations Director Mark Preece and CEO Chris Ambler

Islanders will soon be enjoying electricity from locally generated solar power as Jersey Electricity announces plans to install the Island's largest  solar photovoltaic array on the roofs of its La Collette Power Station site that will feed directly into to Jersey’s grid.

The utility has partnered with local installer SunWorks to fit the 74kWp export-only array which is expected to generate over 80,000 kWhs a year, enough to power the homes of 11 average domestic consumers or power an electric Nissan Leaf 336,000 miles. 

JE installed a trial 37.5m-long, 19kW solar PV array on its Powerhouse roof in 2013. The 127,000 units of electricity it has generated have been used solely by the Company however, the array has enabled JE to better assess how solar energy can be integrated into its network. This new array at La Collette will be almost four times the size and use award-winning Norwegian REC solar panels which themselves have the lowest carbon footprint among leading manufacturers. This is because the energy used in the silicon production process is low carbon as 96% of Norway’s electricity is from hydro-electric sources.

PH solar array

The new PV array at La Collette will be four times the size of the array on the Powerhouse installed in 2013

JE CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘Jersey already benefits from an almost completely decarbonised power supply, a third of which even today is from renewable hydro-electric sources.  This solar project is one of a series that we are looking at that will diversify energy sources to include local renewables.  Although introducing local solar into our energy mix will not result in further carbon reductions as it is unlikely to displace fossil fuels, we are seeing an increasing appetite for locally-generated renewable electricity.  Solar PV sits comfortably with our existing imported decarbonised power and we wish to continue our support for the Energy Plan - Pathway 2050 - which states a preference for “moving towards renewable sources of energy where it can be justified on grounds of economics, security and sustainability”.

‘We have been exploring how we can economically deploy solar PV since we installed our own array on the Powerhouse six years ago. Last year we announced plans to facilitate a larger scale pilot export-only, ground-mounted solar farm and I am pleased to say we are making good progress. This roof-top array has not required planning permission and been easier to expedite and we hope it can be the first of several in the Island.’

Mark Brandon, founder and Director, of SunWorks said: ‘Jersey has abundant natural resources for generating electricity on-Island. Solar has proven itself globally as a viable source of investment and energy generation. It is great to see Jersey Electricity leading by example installing the largest solar array on the Island to date. SunWorks are delighted to have been selected as the preferred solar contractor and we look forward to working with JE on this milestone energy project. We are using REC solar panels which possess the lowest carbon footprint and ‘energy debt’ of pretty much any solar panel on the market and this is in keeping with JE’s low carbon ethos.’

La Collette has been generating electricity for the Island since 1966 but from the mid-Nineties imports outstripped local generation, significantly cutting costs and prices to customers and dramatically reducing Jersey’s carbon emissions. Today JE maintains the Power Station solely as an emergency back-up facility in the event of disruption to imported supplies.