Smart Grid Installation at Stepnell Park has been awarded 'Commercial Building Energy Project of the Year'

The Smart Grid Installation at Stepnell Park has been awarded ‘Commercial Building Energy Project of the Year’ at The Energy Awards 2021.

Stepnell Park is a new build business park development including ten industrial, warehouse and trade counter buildings across an 85,000 sq.ft site in Rugby.

On developing the brief for Stepnell Park we established a number of key success points for the project, these included a positive local economic impact, creating up to 100 jobs for the local community of Rugby. Delivery of a sustainable development, generating our own green energy, reducing CO2 impact and providing lower cost, sustainable energy for the parks occupiers. Team involvement of the many skillsets of the Stepnell business, including our sister company Evo Energy and our civil engineering and property development divisions.

Acting as landlord, developer, principal contractor and employer’s agent the project was designed to showcase our ‘complete construction partner’ approach.

Evo Energy worked with us to design and install the energy solution for the scheme, developing an innovative Smart Grid approach.

A Smart Grid is a system that combines multiple renewable energy technologies such as solar PV, battery storage systems, HV/LV infrastructure and electric vehicle charging points to create a single system across a whole site. At Stepnell Park, the innovative Smart Grid significantly changed the way in which electricity is now distributed within the development.

The first step was to install the private electrical infrastructure network to supply electricity for the entire development.

This approach means that we retain this investment and own the network from the Western Power substation all the way to the mains incomer of each unit, this allows us to operate in a similar manner to the energy supplier. We are responsible for the delivery of electricity from this substation to the individual units on this site.

A 220 kWp rooftop solar array was installed onto two of the units which has the capacity to generate nearly half the energy requirements of the site. A battery storage systems was installed to collect and store the energy, allowing for the energy load to be shifted from peak to off-peak periods, reducing peak demand. This puts less strain on the grid during peak times as the energy demand is fulfilled from multiple different sources.

The Smart Grid also has the potential for more renewable technologies, such as more solar PV, electrical vehicle charging points and battery energy storage systems to be installed in the future, which will see less energy being transported back into the grid as the site makes use of more of the generated energy.

Evo Energy also developed a monitoring platform for the Smart Grid, displayed inside each building unit, it indicates where energy is currently being distributed from, either the Grid, Solar PV or Battery Energy Storage. The monitoring platform also shows when the site is exporting back to the Grid.

The Smart Grid enables us to retain more control from the grid, ensuring a consistent supply of power is delivered to the site and the tenants, mitigating any potential for power outages and power disruptions. It also allows to pass on the savings in energy prices to our tenants from the generation of our own energy on site.

The system also reduces our impact on the environment. The PV system will generate 178,000 kwh and will save in excess of 70,000 kg of CO2 per year, which will increase as more renewable technologies are planned to be added to the system.

With the addition of batteries in the future our aim is to achieve carbon neutral status, exceeding government targets.

The innovative system has already attracted like-minded tenants with Off Grid Energy taking residence in one of the units, Off Grid Energy is a leader in the energy storage market specialising in the requirements for grid reinforcement where the grid is weak or not available.

The Smart Grid installation at Stepnell Park was named ‘Commercial Building of The Year’ at the The Energy Awards 2021.

The Stepnell Park project was described as:

“A well thought-out project that was well executed – and clearly shows how future developments could be designed to maximise renewable energy and provide high quality energy management systems.”