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Tufts, builders merchants in Norfolk are saving over £8,500 on their energy bills

“We decided to invest in PV to reduce our energy bills and also a great return on our investment, the 50kW system fitted our situation”

The Background
George Tufts & Son Ltd is Norfolk’s leading independent builders merchants with over 50 years experience in the industry. The family firm is open 6 days a week, with a large and busy office, the company was looking to lessen their energy consumption, whilst providing energy security for the future.

PV was an attractive prospect; it allows Tufts to significantly reduce their electricity bills but it also provides a secondary income.

The Facts
• 50kW grid tied system was installed on a fibre cement commercial building
• The array is directly south facing
• The roof pitch is 10˚ pitch
• 200 250w JA Solar panels

Abel Energy provided Tufts with a number of different sized systems, 50 kW was decided upon as it was the largest system they could install on the 3 phase supply due to the size of the transformer. Because of the fragile fibre cement roof the array was being mounted on, it was important to ensure the array was as light as possible and the weight was evenly distributed. The underside of the roof was netted to ensure both installers and any bystanders were safe during the installation.

The install took 1 week to complete and encompassed a weekend to ensure that minimum disruption was caused to Tufts customers. 3 SMA tripower 17,000TL inverters were used on the array to convert the direct current generated by the solar array into alternating current to be fed back into the national grid. The inverters used are transformer-less; particularly suited to a large system operation on a 3 phase electrical supply and are 98% efficient.

The electricity generated by the array is eligible for the government Feed in Tariff (FIT). Due to the size of the system an export meter was installed to calculate the kWh of electricity that Tufts are exporting back into the grid, they receive the export tariff direct
from their energy supplier for every kWh they export. Abel Energy predicted the array would produce 42,920 kWh in its first year the system has in fact produced 33,632.6 kWh in just 6 month since installation. The installation is sure to meet its predicted target and is likely to exceed expectation.

Tufts say: “We chose to use Abel Energy because of their good reputation, and their swiftness in producing a quotation following a site survey. The planning process was managed very well and we would use and recommend Abel Energy again.”

The Numbers

The Numbers
Figures are for 1 year, and based upon the FIT rate being 13p/kWh and the export tariff 4.5p/kWh. The FIT payment is guaranteed for 20 years and is RPI. 

FIT payment: £5,592
Import Saving: £1,888
Export income: £1,159
Total benefit for 1 year: £8,640
                                   17% return

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