custom solar

Custom Solar begins innovative project at Portsmouth International Port

Chesterfield-based Custom Solar has announced its latest major sustainable project at Portsmouth International Port.

The team has started to develop the installation of a ground-breaking solar and battery system at the port, managed by Portsmouth City Council’s in-house energy services team. The project began in February 2022 and will incorporate roof-mounted solar panels across a number of buildings, a large battery, and solar canopies.

When completed, the power produced by the 2,660 solar panels will contribute around 35% of the site’s power; a significant step in Portsmouth International Port’s ambition to be the UK’s first net-zero carbon port. The installation is due to complete in summer 2022.

Portsmouth is the first UK port to have solar canopies and a mega-watt sized battery installed as part of a renewable installation. When completed, the 1.2 megawatt peak system, will be the largest solar and battery installation to date across the council’s portfolio of renewable generation.

As well as generating carbon-free power, the solar canopies will provide shade for cars waiting to board ferries; allowing them to stay cooler for longer, without having to run their engines.

Image by Portsmouth International Port

The battery, with a capacity of 1.5 megawatt hours (enough to run a typical home for 4 months), will capture green power that would otherwise be exported from the site and using it in the port’s buildings when it is needed.

The new battery will work in tandem with an upcoming battery storage pilot announced in the summer; supplying balancing services to the national grid and storing power during lower pricing periods. When complete, it is estimated that 98% of the electricity consumed by the port will come from the solar and battery, combined.

Gary Sucharewycz, CEO of Custom Solar, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Portsmouth City Council in the delivery of this special project, utilising our experience in developing and delivering solar at another established British port.

“We have already broken ground and we are excited to showcase a solar rooftop, solar carport canopy, and battery storage system. We are proud to have been selected to work towards the environmental ambitions of Portsmouth International Port and look forward to delivering another major on-site project in a busy operational environment that will aid in carbon reduction goals.”

Jerry Clarke, pilot and senior project manager at Portsmouth International Port added: “The port is owned by the people of Portsmouth, so we have a duty to control and reduce the impact of port operations on the local environment.

“We’re delighted to work with the wider council and Custom Solar on this exciting project. It will significantly expand our solar generating capability, and is part of an integrated approach that will help us to offer shore power for smaller ships, without having to take extra power from the local electricity grid.

“Combined with other sustainability initiatives, it will help us achieve our ambition of becoming one of the UK’s first zero emission ports by 2050”.

Custom Solar Ltd. supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

From L-R: Gary Sucharewycz, CEO of Custom Solar: Tony Denney, Site Manager for Custom Solar; Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Green Recovery, Cllr Kimberly Barrett; Owen Hughes, Project Manager at Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services Team; Andrew Waggott; Energy Services Team Manager at Portsmouth City Council.

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New financial facility confirmed for Custom Solar

Custom Solar has announced that the company has secured £4.8m in new lending from Virgin Money to accelerate its growth ambitions.

Based in Chesterfield, the business is behind the largest rooftop commercial installation in the country, fitting 21,000 solar panels at the Port of Hull, which will reduce carbon emissions by approximately 1,400 tonnes every year.

The company has grown a pipeline of future projects and as such has looked towards further growth opportunities and with financial support from Virgin Money, it has given the business flexibility to target bigger designs and installations across its corporate and public sector customers.

Custom Solar was founded in 2011 and over the last 10 years the team has grown to 30 people, who travel to customers all over the UK. With the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, it’s seeing an increase in customers moving towards sustainable business improvements and taking advantage of the incentives available when investing in renewable energy.

Gary Sucharewycz, Chief Executive Officer, Custom Solar, said “We are extremely pleased with the facility that will now be in place with Virgin Money. This will support and accelerate our ever-growing 200MW pipeline of solar projects that the company is securing. We wanted to match our growth and ambition for the future with a tangible financial facility that will accelerate our ability to complete projects at an expedient rate. This will not only be a benefit to our clientele but to our planet.”

Custom Solar scored highly on Virgin Money’s Sustainable Business Coach, a recently launched free app designed to help businesses be more sustainable by measuring, tracking, and offering guidance on improving their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials.

Gary added: “We were really pleased that the results of the Sustainable Business Coach demonstrated the high standards of our internal sustainability credentials. The Coach was really easy to use and enabled us to look at our own business, providing the encouragement that we are not only doing good by the work we do, but by the way we operate. We are committed to staying on top of our own carbon footprint.”

David Burgess, Director, Business Network, at Virgin Money, said: “Renewable energy is a vital part of our energy sources and we want to support sustainable organisations to help them grow and thrive. Custom Solar has been on quite a journey since its inception, with notable commercial projects that have demonstrated what the team is capable of. We are looking forward to working with the business as it accelerates its growth strategy, offering the financial backing it needs to deliver and exceed its customers’ expectations.”

Custom Solar was advised on corporate finance by fellow Chesterfield Champion BHP, with a team led by Partner, Kevin Davies, and Tim Brind, Director.

Kevin said: “We are delighted to have been able to support Custom Solar on this next step in its exciting development. It is a fantastic business that sits right at the heart of the current environmental narrative, supporting UK business in its drive for sustainable energy sources.”

Custom Solar supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Management Restructure for Chesterfield’s Custom Solar

Green energy company Custom Solar has announced that the company has been restructured, with a new senior leadership formation taking the helm.

10 years from the company’s inception, Custom Solar has seen exponential growth from completing major solar projects such as the UK’s largest in the Port of Hull to securing large-scale commercial contracts with UK-leading businesses.

Growth and success have resulted in an increase in Custom Solar personnel working nationwide as well as in the firm’s new head office located in Chesterfield. The new invigorated management structure will seek to take the company forward into the future and continue to deliver further success.

Company founder Matthew Brailsford stated his pride in the progression since founding the Company: “The last 10 years at the helm of Custom Solar have been more exciting and challenging than I could ever have imagined, as a team we have achieved amazing things and have pioneered new and exciting projects across the UK.

“The business and sector show unrivaled potential in the coming years and as such Custom Solar is preparing for the mammoth challenge of decarbonising the UK’s electricity supply.

“As we continue to grow, I recognised the need to bolster the senior leadership team with a mix of industry seasoned professionals and outside expertise. Gary Sucharewycz (CEO), Victoria Brown (CFO), and Kristian Clark (COO) all have proven track records of success and add another level of professionalism and dedication to the business.

“I very much look forward to the leadership taking the reins of the day-to-day operation of the business as I know they will expand our reach, impact, and ongoing financial stability.”

“I personally now move to the role of Group Chairman to focus on strategic growth, acquisition, and investment. This is an incredibly bright and exciting time for Custom Solar, and I hope everyone will join me in wishing the senior leadership team all the very best as they continue to drive the business forwards.”

Gary Sucharewycz CEO, has been with the business for the last 6 years in the role of Director of Development and Strategy and has been in senior roles within the solar sector for the last 11 years with over 20 years of experience in the Energy industry. He has been pivotal in driving Custom Solar’s growth, developing a commercial pipeline and development process that has achieved an incredible success rate of contracted projects that has reflected in year-on-year growth with many major contracts secured across the UK.

Gary has expressed his delight to have taken on the new position: “I am really proud to have been asked to take on this role at this point in our journey having been heavily involved in the company’s growth since joining the business.

“The new position requires me to take on additional responsibility in driving us forward through an incredible growth period and I am delighted to be supported in this by Victoria and Kristian whom I have been working with over the last 8 months transitioning into our new roles.

“Through this time we have already seen an exciting period of growth in terms of recruiting new members of the team, contracts secured and projects delivered. We are supported by an experienced and successful management team and a very talented wider team internally, who is based at our new head office location and site-based through our engineering teams.

Victoria Brown CFO, who joined the business earlier in the year is a qualified accountant and Award-winning Chartered Director with over 20 years post qualified experience in various businesses. Knowledgeable in change management, risk management & mitigation, funding, and phases of high growth, Victoria brings a wealth of financial expertise to the company.

Victoria is also NED for Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, sits on the Risk and Audit Committee at Sheffield Hallam University, is Chairman of the Institute of Directors for South Yorkshire, and is a Member of the Company of Cutlers.

Kristian Clark COO, has been Operations Director at Custom Solar for the last 2 years and has been intricately involved in the businesses’ continued scaling up of its delivery model. His knowledge and approach have helped the business focus on its core deliverables, whilst seeing a controlled strategy of growth.

Kristian is highly experienced in Solar PV delivery with a history of developing businesses operations functions to manage growth efficiently and safely, he is an experienced people manager which will allow us to progress on to the next phase of our evolution.

Custom Solar supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield’s Custom Solar completes innovative panel installation at the port of Southampton

Chesterfield-based green energy company, Custom Solar is proud to have completed its latest innovative solar project in the Port of Southampton.

The latest development in partnership with Associated British Ports sees the Horizon Cruise Terminal fitted with 2,000 solar modules, providing an 871kWp (Kilowatt Peak) system which will generate 850MWh per year. This ultimately means that on a day-to-day basis the terminal will generate more energy than it uses.

The new Horizon Cruise Terminal is thought to be the greenest in the UK. It is a significant step forward in energy sustainability within the maritime sector, with the ‘plug-in’ Shore Power technology that will allow vessels to connect to the national grid for power, significantly cutting carbon emissions.

The innovatively designed curved rooftop of the Horizon Cruise Terminal provided challenges to the project, with significant obstacles spanning spotlights and shipping infrastructure. As well as this, the installation of the project accounted for snow loading challenges with the architectural design of the rooftop. The Custom Solar design team expertly surpassed these challenges with a bespoke developed design.

ABP’s Sustainable Development Manager, Sue Simmonite, said: “From the outset of the design phase, we have been committed to ensuring our new Horizon Cruise Terminal embraces sustainability principles. Working with Custom Solar we have been able to maximise the amount of solar generation installed on the roof space of the design such that the terminal will be a net generator of renewable energy.”

Custom Solar’s Chief Executive, Gary Sucharewycz, said: “We are proud to have delivered another fantastic project for the Associated British Ports at the Port of Southampton. We have been involved in the project from concept and worked on complex solutions through the architectural design phase.

“This resulted in our team designing a bespoke mounting solution to seamlessly integrate the solar system into the bi-directional curvature of the roof. It’s been a fantastic project to have been involved with and one that our team have enjoyed being part of. The visual impact is impressive but more importantly we have assisted our client in identifying and creating solutions for deploying on site solar in a complex environment which is what we specialise in with our expert team.

“We operate and maintain over 3MW of solar assets at the Port of Southampton that we delivered over the last 3 years with further projects being developed and delivered.

Custom Solar LTD designs, develops, installs, and maintains large scale infrastructure storage and solar systems for clientele including commercial and public sector institutions across the UK.

The firm’s track record of tailoring projects for large-scale commercial clients relies on creativity, expertise in engineering, and an industry-leading attitude to health & safety. The company values the trust placed in it to provide the correct solar solution and investment plan for each unique scenario.

Custom Solar supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

 

New solar installation at Port of Southampton, Image Credit – ABP

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Chesterfield’s Custom Solar produces UK’s largest rooftop solar array at the Port of Hull

Associated British Ports (ABP) has unveiled the UK’s largest commercial rooftop solar array based at the Port of Hull, after contracting Chesterfield company Custom Solar to undertake its construction.

The array will produce 6.5MW of energy, more than doubling ABP Humber Ports’ renewable energy generation.
ABP’s 6.8 million investment will save 2,600 tonnes of CO2e per annum, which equates to the energy needs of 1,450 average UK homes.

Simon Bird, Director at ABP Humber, said: “This has been a huge project for ABP and our appointed contractor, Custom Solar, to undertake. I’m delighted that the Port of Hull now holds the accolade of the UK’s largest, commercial rooftop array.

“Our ambition is to keep reducing the emissions that port operations generate, by implementing a mix of clean energy production, and investing further in hybridised port equipment.

“Every bit of effort and investment to lower our carbon footprint, contributes to the region’s environmental targets. This scheme and others like it, also help to secure ABP’s energy supply, making great commercial and environmental sense.”

The project team decided on using solar technology, as it could be installed on the vast space created by the port’s many warehouse rooftops. Custom Solar began installing the solar panels in October 2019, but the project had already been many months in the planning.

Teamwork was at the heart of ABP’s solar project, with the support of many external partners such as Northern Power Grid. Custom Solar began designing the scheme to make the most of the available space, in liaison with the port’s management team. Once the design reached its final stages, a detailed assessment was made of the electrical network to plan its necessary upgrade and strengthen it – a key part of the project.

The installation of the 21,000 solar panels, powered by 49 of global solar specialists FIMER’s PVS-100-TL 100kw inverters and 3 PVS-50-TL 50kw inverters, was completed in August 2020. The team were able to quickly adapt to COVID-19 working requirements, as their established working practices were already socially distanced in their nature, and COVID secure welfare facilities were introduced.

Matthew Brailsford, Managing Director of Custom Solar, said, “It’s another proud moment for the Custom Solar team and our client, Associated British Ports, as we deliver yet another iconic rooftop solar system. Obviously this one is in a very special bracket all on its own being the UK’s largest.

“The project was in planning for nearly two years before beginning construction due to the sheer complexity of the system we delivered, this is yet another reason why the system is incredibly unique and bespoke to the client’s needs and environment.

“With carbon reduction, CSR and keen financial savings on the agenda of all large corporations during such a challenging time, we see solar as the perfect fit. The future is solar powered, and we are glad to be leading the way.”

FIMER’s chairman Filippo Carzaniga, comments: “FIMER is delighted to be supporting this new era for the UK’s solar energy market. This was a ground-breaking project, which marks our first major solar development in the country, and the largest installation of its kind.

“It demonstrates how powerful solar power can be and, we are proud to have worked closely with ABP and Custom Solar to make this vision a reality.”

17 of ABP’s 21 ports now have renewable energy projects attached. The addition of the solar scheme in Hull means that ABP’s Humber Ports can produce 29% of their energy requirements, and ABP isn’t stopping there.

Simon added: “Having now completed the solar arrays on the Ports of Immingham, Goole and Hull, ABP has already started work to understand the next phase of our ambition. Grimsby will be our focus, as the port is home to the growing offshore wind sector, we would once again like to reduce our carbon footprint using a mix of clean energy generation.”

ABP launched its core strategy in January 2020, which outlines the company’s commitment to accelerating green energy generation and storage for its port operations, as well as for new manufacturing sites in their ports. Over the last two years ABP Humber has also been investing in hybridised cranes and electric forklifts, to make the most of its onsite energy generation.

Find out more about our recent Chesterfield Round Table event, where the topic of business sustainability was discussed in detail.

Custom Solar Ltd. supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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