Solar Power Portal Awards: The Winners

Last night saw the winners of the inaugural Solar Power Portal Awards announced. The glitzy black tie dinner was an enormous success with industry coming together under one roof to celebrate.

Robert Llewelyn was in charge of hosting the event and did a super job, keeping the crowd laughing at every turn.

Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2013 Solar Power Portal Awards:  

Best community or public sector installation sponsored by Enphase Energy

Entries for this category were incredibly strong, ranging from colleges to churches and railway stations. The sheer breadth of solar projects not only made a perfect showcase of solar’s flexibility but they also created a real challenge for the judges when it came to choosing the final shortlist, let alone the winners!

In fact the entries were so wide ranging and of such high quality that a decision was made by the judging panel, to split the award into two categories: Best community installation and best public space installation.

The winners were:

The Melbourne Parish Church of St. Michael with St. Mary by Mainline Energy Solutions

And

Solarcentury and Panasonic for Blackfriars Bridge

The judges said, that the Melbourne Parish Church of St.Michael with St.Mary represented a fantastic project. From access challenges, protecting precious artifacts to engaging a specialist stonemason and corralling various stakeholders in to agreeing a project that was, on many levels very, very complicated, the effort and engagement demonstrated throughout this installation proved a winning combination, and will hopefully open the floodgates for similar projects in community buildings of this nature.

Meanwhile the judges described the winner of the Best Public Space Installation as a “remarkable” project.  With its use of space over the river, and its use of integrated solar panels, the judging panel felt it was not only a deserving winner but also a “simply iconic structure for the future”.

The best integration of solar generation as part of a total energy solution, sponsored by Lightsource Renewable Energy

The finalists in this category demonstrated exceptional system design, creating integrated systems that significantly reduced customers’ energy bills as well as emissions.    

The winner was:

The Isle of Eigg Electrification Project by Wind & Sun Ltd

For the judges the successful finalist was the “stand-out winner in this category”, with its use of energy storage for renewables and the integration of various technologies, they also felt it demonstrated exactly where we, the UK, need to go as an island too.

Best solar thermal installation of the year

The shortlisted projects showcased exceptional system design, perfectly bringing together output with demand, with the two finalists standing head and shoulders above the rest.

The winner was:

Becket's Grove by Viridian Solar

The judge’s described the winning project as having to “jump through lots of hoops to get through a lot of barriers” creating an exceptionally well integrated and aesthetically pleasing solution.

BIPV installer of the year

The entries provided a highly visible reminder of BIPV’s capability and its ability to seamlessly blend solar PV technology into the most challenging environments.

The winner was:

Sundog Energy for King’s Cross Station, London

Judges said the winner displayed some “real innovation” in the installation process, including its use of a rolling scaffold.

They also understood that the installer had “successfully navigated” their way through a very complex set of relationships involving the likes of Network Rail and English Heritage as part of a major refurbishment project for a Grade I listed building.

Commercial rooftop installation sponsored by Natural Sparx, powered by Rexel Energy Solutions

Our most-entered category, the finalists form some of the UK’s best-known brands, all of whom are clearly starting to recognise the huge potential of solar.

The winner was:

Morrison's Bridgwater RDC by GMI Energy

The judges’ felt the Morrison’s installation was, quite simply, “a cracking project” which had their full support and deserved to win.

Domestic rooftop installation up to 10kW

The judges’ felt that the visibility of the shortlisted projects helped underline why good design and installation techniques are so important for the reputation of the UK solar industry.

The winner was:

Treleigh House by GB-Sol Ltd

The judges said that the winning project was “superb” with its ability to deal with a set of complex requirements, multi-faceted roofs and a solar array able to integrate with a number of other energy efficient technologies, the installer responsible really did maximise their experience, creating a truly bespoke system: an out and out winner.

Most innovative marketing campaign

The solar industry presents marketing professionals with a set of unique challenges: from misleading mainstream media coverage to shifting policies and anti-dumping troubles, the will to create a strong, unified communications campaign, for an industry with an ever-changing outlook, is not a task for the faint hearted.

The shortlisted campaigns utilise all available channels to successfully achieve their objectives.

The winner was:

Hoo Solar by Abundance Generation and BNRG Renewables

The judges commented that the winning campaign offered a “particularly powerful” communication concept and was something that had not been done before in terms of the method by which it went about raising significant funds for a solar project via public appeal.

The judge’s felt the campaign demonstrated “an appeal not just for small investors” looking for a new venture, but also helped heighten awareness as to what solar is and can do for a community.  

Most innovative system design sponsored by BayWa r.e. Solar Systems Ltd

For this category the judges decided on a shortlist of six -- all of which reflect the maturity and ingenuity of the UK’s growing solar sector.

The winner was:

Bentley Motor Rooftop, Crewe by Lightsource Renewable Energy and Solarcentury

The judges described the project as “innovatively funded and structured” allowing the UK’s largest roof-mounted solar installation to be completed on a building that uses all of the electricity generated.

A massive factory roof installation, this winner demonstrates how industrial roofs with on-site consumption are the future.

Most successful large-scale ground mount solar site by Recom

Large-scale solar installations in the UK have become an increasingly important sector for the UK. However, the market has become a controversial one recently, with some high-profile objections to solar farms on agricultural land.

The judges felt that the shortlisted entries represented the best of the sector, showcasing the great potential of the sector in the UK.

The winner was:

The Wymeswold Solar Farm by Lark Energy, Prestwold Estate, Hazel Capital and SAG

The judges felt the winning project was managed and delivered against a “very difficult” political background, yet the team involved achieved what is still the largest solar farm project in the country.

In particular the judges were taken with the site selection, a “perfect location” on low-grade agricultural land which encountered no objections from the locals. All in all, an outstanding achievement for the large-scale solar sector.

The Solar Power Portal outstanding achievement award sponsored by The NEC

The final award of the night went to a personality whose work and influence has taken this industry to a higher level.

Widely recognised as a key advisor to the government and the UK industry on PV installation standards, this individual’s involvement in solar spans many years.

From writing key industry texts to actively participating on a range of other core industry committees, both here and abroad, his dedication to improving and developing industry standards has played a lead role in the development of best practice guidelines, most recently as a main author of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme’s ‘Guide to the installation of PV systems’ - now in its third edition.

Outside of his full-time job (as the founder and director of one of the UK’s most prominent and successful installation businesses), this dedicated individual’s extra-curricular activities have included liaising with the Fire and Rescue Services to help educate and improve the understanding of fire safety and PV, helping to weed out bad practice in the industry through public speaking, regular blogging and training events as well as working with the REAL assurance scheme, now the Renewable Energy Consumer Code.

The winner of the Solar Power Portal Achievement Award was:

Martin Cotterell

As a personal note, I would like to say thank you to everyone who was involved in the Solar Power Portal Awards last night. It was a great showcase of why the industry and the technology are great.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.