Working to clean up the often dirty transport image, Bournemouth Airport has installed a 74.98kWp solar photovoltaic array as part of its £45m redevelopment programme. By utilising the technology at its new arrivals hall the seaside location is now believed to house Europe’s first carbon neutral airport building.  

More than 325 Moser Baer 230W PV modules have been installed on the new arrivals hall by PV specialists, South Facing, using purpose-designed ballast and mounting systems to maintain the design and structural integrity of the building’s lightweight steel roof.

Just under a half of the total number of modules are mounted directly onto the south facing 30° pitch of the two north roof lights, with the remainder clamped on ballasted aluminium A frames at a pitch of 15° set in rows across the remainder of the lightweight steel roof.  Significantly, the ballast and mounting system was designed to avoid penetration of the roof membrane, to resist potential salt damage as a result of the coastal location and to meet the specified load limitations of the lightweight roof structure.

The project also utilises four SMA Tripower 17000TL inverters, mounted on the south side of the roof Plant Deck.

“The project certainly posed some technical challenges,” said Clive Collison, Managing Director of South Facing.  “But, such an advanced and comprehensive solar power installation takes full advantage of southern orientation of the new Terminal’s roof and the fact that the airport is located in one of the sunniest areas in the country.  For a client that is so committed to the use of renewable energy technology and the reduction of carbon emissions, the new system provides a highly efficient and sustainable solution with an excellent return on investment.”

Rob Goldsmith, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport said, “We believe the new arrivals hall to be Europe’s first carbon neutral airport building and the new solar panel system is at the heart of its energy-efficient design and specification. What’s more the new building features passive lighting and ventilation throughout, solar shading, the use of air source heat pumps and a computerised building management system that controls the heating, lighting and cooling to maximise resource efficiency.  In every respect it is an airport building for the future.”

The PV installation is the latest sustainability initiative by the airport’s owners, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), to fulfil its commitment to making Bournemouth Airport carbon neutral for its ground operations by 2012. 

By working closely with building contractors Warings and structural engineers, South Facing successfully completed the complex installation on schedule with the new Arrivals Hall officially opened in time for the main summer holiday season.  The solar array is now generating an annual return on investment of over 11% for the airport and has reduced annual carbon emissions by over 40 tonnes.