Green thinking at Dublin Port

Dublin Port Company received ISO 50001 Certification in 2016, sealing its commitment to best practice in energy management systems. Solar PV will play its part in meeting the Port’s challenging statutory and regulatory obligations of reduced CO2 emissions and increased energy efficiency by 2020.

The initial installation, commissioned in January 2017, is a 28kw system on the roof of the Maintenance and Services building. It is sized to almost meet the electricity load of the building without running the risk of exceeding it. The project went to tender which Solar Electric won.

Stephen Collier, Maintenance and Services Manager, describes their approach to the project very positively, “They [Solar Electric] were excellent and the installation ran very smoothly. The communication was good which helps.”

Stephen is an engineer and leads up the Energy Team in Dublin Port. The team is comprised of executives from across functions within the company. The Solar PV panels may be too high to be noticeable but the energy team makes sure that all employees know they are there.

Stephen explains “We include the details of all environmental activities in the staff newsletter and I’ll talk about this to anyone who’ll listen. The energy situation is a huge problem for all of us.”

And he isn’t referring solely to Dublin Port Company. Stephen runs what he describes as a ‘very lean energy home’ with solar thermal panels (heating water) and heat pump. He makes his 70km round trip commute in an electric car which he has proudly owned since 2011. Given that level of personal commitment from one of the main drivers it is no wonder that Dublin Port Company have already made more than 10% energy savings since baseline.

The target of 33% remains some way off but Stephen remains positive that they can reach this by 2020. They have partnered with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and meeting the standards of ISO 500001 requires that energy is a central consideration in all design and procurement processes.

If positive attitude counts in energy efficiency and research shows it does, then Dublin Port Company is well placed to meet its obligations. Solar Electric looks forward to working with Stephen and his colleagues on this and further projects.

Solar success beside the N3 in Dublin

The Helsinn Group develops and manufactures cancer-care therapies with the stated objective of “building better todays” for those affected by cancer. The family-run business is based in Switzerland but has an impressive development, manufacturing and supply chain facility in Damastown, Dublin. Solar Electric was delighted to receive an expression of interest in Solar PV from the facility management team last year.

Robert Goss, Director at Solar Electric explains the background:

“By March 2016 we had grown to a team of six in preparation for the ‘solar rush’. We had experienced 2 bumper years, firstly Tipperary Energy Agency’s order for 717 panels on 9 public buildings in 2014, followed by Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency’s partnership with O’Shea Farms in 2015. The farm project was the largest at that time in Ireland at 250 kWp (960 panels). There was political appetite for microgeneration, expressed in the Energy White Paper but there was more talk than action in early 2016. I admit to feeling concerned.”

Then, out of the blue, Solar Electric received an email inviting them to meet to discuss Solar PV at the Helsinn Group’s Damastown location. Partners Tom Foley and Robert Goss lost no time and there followed a quick succession of introductory and technical visits, surveys and support for internal Helsinn presentations. Electricity bills were examined to ensure no electricity would spill to the grid.

Finally, a 50 kWp system was selected and planning permission applied for. With the potential capacity on the Damastown site being much higher, this is a pilot project for Helsinn. The installation took place over two weeks in March 2017 and was carefully managed to ensure no loss of power to the facility.

Robert describes the process from initial contact to commissioning:

“The first email was so uplifting and working with the Helsinn team has been no different. There is a great ethos of environmental responsibility while making sure the investment also makes business sense. We had to defend our product as offering excellent value for money and it is so gratifying to see our panels on the Damastown roof.”

Solar Electric looks forward to continuing to support Helsinn “build better todays” for all of us through their commitment to sustainability.  The Helsinn Group monitor and publish their energy data including their usage of energy from renewable sources.  Solar Electric, through their real-time data app, will soon be contributing data on the increase in electricity generated from renewable sources and the consequential decrease in CO2 emissions.

‘Solar rush’ levels may still be illusive but confidence and pride are running high in the Solar Electric camp. As Robert says “there are many more plants suited to Solar PV. Each company that we work with is a new advocate for ours so we are definitely travelling in the right direction”.

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