One of the UK’s largest solar photovoltaic installations is being protected by a security system provided by Optex which incorporates a number of the company’s award-winning Redscan laser detectors.

The 5MW farm based in Wales is made up of 22,500 modules laid out across 32 acres of fields near Usk in Monmouthshire. The solar farm is expected produce enough electricity to power 2,500 local homes, saving over 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year in the process.

The large-scale site is secured by a low chain-link fence designed to keep out sheep and passing walkers. However, the owner wanted to improve the site’s security and consulted with remote site specialist AVA Security to install a ‘virtual fence’ by installing 15 fixed and seven pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras.

Redscan lasers lent themselves perfectly to this application as they have four outputs for remote video applications and four programmable detection areas linked with their outputs. Phil Grunewald, Managing Director at AVA Security, explains: “We specified 29 Redscans as the only detector that could offer a closely defined detection area and the flexibility to eliminate nuisance alarms from animals and those triggered by environmental conditions. We first became aware of the Redscans at IFSEC and this is the first major site we have installed them at,” he says.

“So far they have been very impressive with the best capture rate and minimum false alarms. We have worked on a number of renewable energy sites and these are the only detectors we have come across that can blank out zones very specifically and in a much more targeted way – with others it can be a bit haphazard!”

The Redscan laser works by detecting a moving object’s position, size and speed and can be programmed to only go into alarm when intruders enter specific areas, resulting in the highly reliable detection of intruders with minimal false alarms. It has already been awarded Security Excellence and IFSEC Awards in the last year.

Nigel Hackett, Sales Director for Optex Europe, comments: “The Redwall detectors have always had a track record for consistent performance and low false alarm rates, making the surveillance of remote sites easier and more reliable,” he says. “Our new laser technology brings an additional element to outdoor detection by creating highly customisable zones, either vertically through a virtual wall or horizontally, thus enabling the solution to be tailored to each specific site.”