Kings Cross Station Debut For New Solar Test Technology
New hand held electrical test instrumentation has been used for the first time as part of the installation of one of the UK’s largest solar panel systems.
Cumbria-based Sundog Energy, one of the UK’s leading providers of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, became the first installer to have the chance to test out the new Seaward Solar Installation PV100 tester as part of its contract with Network Rail to provide a huge solar PV system on the roof of Kings Cross Station in London.
The Kings Cross project is one of the biggest solar PV systems in the UK. The PV cells are integrated into nearly 1,400 glass laminate units that will form part of the new glass roofing structure over the platforms and concourses. The area of roof that will be covered with the solar PV glass laminate is approximately 2,300 square metres.
The new PV100 electrical tester is the first dedicated multi-function tester for solar panel installation. It is capable of carrying out all electrical tests required by IEC 62446 on grid connected PV systems and eliminates the need for multiple test instruments for PV panel electrical installation and connection.
With the push of a single button the new combination tester carries out the required sequence of electrical tests in a safe and controlled manner, avoiding the risk of contact with exposed live DC conductors.
By using it on the Kings Cross contract, Sundog Energy became the first solar installer to utilise the new instrument on a major project. Technical Director Martin Cotterell was impressed with the outcome.
He said: “The Kings Cross station contract is not only a great development for Sundog, it is also a fantastic show-case for solar PV technology."
“ To test the strings of glass-glass PV modules as they are installed on the roof of the station we’ve previously required three bits of test equipment to check the electrical installation. This time round we took just the PV100. We plugged in the leads, pressed the auto button and a few seconds later we had open circuit voltage, short circuit current, insulation resistance and other system measurements."
“The new PV100 makes such a difference to the ease and speed of testing and signals a significant, market-leading advance in PV testing efficiency and safety.”
Work on the Kings Cross PV solar installation began recently and is expected to be completed over a 12 month period.
Sundog Energy is providing the Kings Cross PV system under contract to Kier Construction, the main contractors to Network Rail for parts of the station refurbishment programme.
The roof refurbishment is part of the complex redevelopment of King’s Cross Station. The original Grade 1 listed Victorian train shed and associated buildings are being fully restored by Network Rail working closely with English Heritage and Camden Council. These works include the roof, ticket hall and office buildings.
A new platform was opened in 2010, increasing the station’s capacity for services, and a new concourse is being built to the west of the station. This western concourse is three times the size of the existing space, and will open in good time for the Olympics in 2012. By the end of 2013, the green canopy at the front of the station will have been stripped away, and a new public square created in its place to complete the renovation and reveal the original station behind.