The refurbished Bishop Centre retail park is now generating its own electricity thanks to two traditional PV arrays and bespoke solar PV louvres.

The solar louvre array consists of unique glass laminates on the front elevation of the building. The install is made up of 188 monocrystalline glass laminates provided by Durham-based PV manufacturer, Romag.

The glass laminates are installed in 47 bays along the front of seven units and are mounted to an aluminum carrier system. Each glass laminate has a maximum DC power output of just over 12kWp.

The unique project presented a number of challenges for the installation team. All the frames for the louvre system had to be assembled on the ground, with DC cables for the glass laminated run through them with torsion tubes. As each frame weighed 120kg and measured 3m x 2.5m, a telehandler was required. In addition, fitting the frames in the wood fascia of the building proved especially challenging, as the tolerance around the frames was 12mm at the side and bottom and 20mm on the top.

The solar-powered louvres are not the only form of PV installed at the retail park. Traditional PV modules were also installed on the roof of the centre’s TK Maxx store and on an adjacent unit occupied by Nike. 160 monocrystalline Perlight PLM-250 modules were installed and paired with Goodwe inverters, totalling 40kWp of capacity. The two solar arrays are expected to negate the emission of over 23 tonnes of carbon every year.

The project was won at tender by Reading-based installer, Photon Energy who was appointed by Bowmner and Kirkland to complete the solar makeover for the £20 million renovation of the existing Bishop Centre. Triada Vlasakoudi, an engineer responsible for the work said: “There were a number of significant challenges with this installation, but the finished look is just what the architect at the 3DReid practice wanted for a quality retail park. We were very pleased to be able to complete the installation within the extremely tight schedule.”

Simon Brambles from 3DReid added: “Photon Energy brought its specialist expertise to deliver a well-designed, bespoke PV louvre system for the Bishop Centre project in Taplow. The engagement with ourselves and the design team from the outset and through to installation ensured delivery of a sustainable and practical solution that met the original brief’s objectives.”