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Solar switch on for London's Kings Cross railway station

One of the UK’s largest and most complex building-integrated solar PV systems has just gone live.

The 240kWp solar glazing system at King’s Cross railway station in London was officially switched on recently. The £1.3m award-winning project is one of the UK’s largest and most complex building integrated solar PV (BIPV) systems to date and is part of Network Rail’s wide-ranging green building programme. The projected annual output of the solar system is expected to be around 175,000kWh of electricity, saving over 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.

Solar PV cells that convert sunlight directly into electricity are integrated into 192 custom made glass laminate units, manufactured by specialist PV manufacturer Romag. These now form part of two massive new barrel vaulted glass roofing structures spanning the main platforms of the grade 1 listed building, covering more than 2300 square metres.

The detailed design, specification and supply of key components for the PV system and the DC electrical installation was undertaken by Sundog Energy, working for the main contractor Kier, in collaboration with Network Rail. “King’s Cross has been a fantastic project to work on, but also a labour of love” said Martin Cotterell, founder and technical director of Sundog Energy. “The sheer scale of the installation has presented many major technical and aesthetic design challenges from day one and there has been no margin for error as the work had to be undertaken whilst the station remained fully operational.”

Roof glazing specialist ESB Services Ltd installed of the solar PV glass laminates while the AC electrical works were carried out by the rail division of NG Bailey. Simon Matthews, senior project manager for Kier Construction said: “The switch on of the PV system is the culmination of a massive effort by the project team, working with specialists in the renovation and refurbishment of the structure, using innovative methods which have allowed the works to be undertaken above the live station.” 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity