Saving in-excess of 100,000kWh in just the first two months, a 1-Mega Watt retrofit installation from SolarCool has been completed on a supermarket sized system at one of the UK’s largest fruit processing plants, Chingford Fruit, Dartford Kent.
In addition to the heavy importance of reducing costs, Chingford Fruit has a strong in-house commitment to installing technology and products that reduce harmful emissions into the environment. SolarCool ‘fits that bill’ according to Chingford.
Over recent years Chingford Fruit has installed LED lighting, human Interface controls, voltage optimisation, along with energy monitoring equipment throughout out their 50,000 sq. mtr site. All which have substantially reduced the buildings energy consumption. Until now however they could not find a solution for their largest energy consumers – Refrigeration & HVAC.
Colin Ormerod, central services manager at Chingford said: “We have been on the lookout for credible efficiency solutions for our refrigeration and air conditioning plant for some time. We came across SolarCool at the Energy & Renewables Event in Birmingham last year, and it really captured our interest. Although I have to say, it did take some time to convince our refrigeration contractors, however they are now fully on board having had first-hand experience of the product and the installation process, to the point where they have actually presented SolarCool to a number of their other clients”.
The rooftop on the Chingford Fruit warehouse has had 54-solar thermal collectors installed in parallel across 750kW of the 1MW cooling capacity refrigeration system. The installation itself was completed by ZetaCool Services (an accredited SolarCool installation partner) who managed the installation process in partnership with Chingford’s existing refrigeration contractors STS Refrigeration - part of the ICA Group.
Mr Ormerod added: “it is early days, but so far we are tracking way over the figures that SolarCool projected, and we still have the peak summer weather to come. I am personally very excited to see the results and assuming the tracking continues at the same trend, we will see a return of our investment well below two years. It is now highly likely that we will be installing SolarCool onto our HVAC systems, at some point in the very near future.”
SolarCool can be retro-fitted onto most well-known HVAC and Refrigeration systems of all sizes, with the proviso that the system has variable load ability - inverter, staged, screw-type, and digital scroll for example. In standard cooling units, the compressor has to manage the full compression load, however at the time it is most needed (i.e. when the sun is out), the SolarCool system takes over a level of the capacity, allowing the compressor to reduce its workload, significantly reducing the amount of electricity consumed by the entire system. Subsequently, the whole system has a much easier life, and is therefore less prone to maintenance issues.
Mark Crabtree, managing director of SolarCool Energy added: “This is pivotal point for our business. This installation is in line with the size of system you would expect to see on an average supermarket or food production plant. We are in discussions and evaluation with three of the top six UK, top two in Australia, and the top two US supermarkets, in these cases we are dealing with enthusiastic and positive individuals, all of whom are keen to see the SolarCool systems delivering not only from a cost saving perspective, but as importantly from an environmental perspective too.
'That said, this has not always been the case, we have over recent years experienced a certain level of cynicism in regards to our products abilities, however to be fair we fully appreciate and respect that the engineers in large organisations have to be cynical, they have to question the abilities of new technology, especially technologies that to some degree ‘fly in face’ of the way most engineers understand how refrigeration works. Therefore this installation is pivotal, because we anticipate that due to its size and more importantly the results will finally turn those prior negatives into positive evaluation programmes.
'I personally believe that any food industry CEO, MD or FD that is given the opportunity to evaluate our return on investment abilities, the potential future proofing against the inevitable Carbon Taxation, not to mention the environmental implications, would struggle to find a reason not to take our technology seriously.”
SolarCool has been evaluated by many high profile businesses over the last two years, including - Cummins, Intel, Sodexo, British Ministry of Defence, Spar and Cable & Wireless to name a few, all of which have hit or are hitting projected efficiencies.
SolarCool now has systems installed across all five continents, having recently completed a deal with an Australian Solar business to commence installations throughout Australasia.
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