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Project Farmhouse - Blog 4 - Planning Permission is in

Project Farmhouse - Blog 4 - Planning Permission is in

Planning permission is in

Over the past 12 months Bright Spark have been working with Smalley & Hales Architects, the South Downs National Park planning and historic buildings officers on the #projectfarmhouse.   

There has been a lot of work carried out to design a scheme that extends and modernises the Farmhouse for a 21st century young family yet retaining the character and charm of the listed building.   The current designs create a new open plan kitchen and dining space linked to the old kitchen (converted into utility room) and children’s play room.   The garage, suffering from subsidence, will be replaced.

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Once the building works are finished then the restoration of the rest of the house will start with a new heating and hot water system. We are planning to use all local contractors and local materials for the build.

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Bright Spark Energy, have been involved in #projectfarmhouse since the very beginning.  Saul and the Technical Team have been focussed on electrical and lighting design incorporating smart home technologies and ensuring the right renewable technologies will be installed.  The team have designed in: 

 

  • Solar Panels on the south facing roof and Battery Storage

  • Smart Home Tech so heating and lighting can be run from an iPad

  • Data and AV cabling with an integrated sound system

 

Our planning application is live on the SDNP planning portal - SDNP/19/03154/FUL  All comments of support welcome. 

CHAS Accredited Contractor

CHAS Accredited Contractor

Bright Spark Energy are excited to announce that we have become a CHAS accredited contractor.

Southwold School - Installing Solar Panels to Save Carbon

Southwold School - Installing Solar Panels to Save Carbon

As part of The White Horse Federations investment in Solar PV, Bright Spark Energy were appointed to install solar panels at 10 of their schools. By working together, we have combated rising energy costs and made these schools more energy efficient.

Project Farmhouse - Blog 3 - LED Lighting & Controls

Project Farmhouse - Blog 3 - LED Lighting & Controls

Our next blog post on our #projectfarmhouse - We have upgraded the existing lighting this week to reduce our energy costs significantly and improve the lighting quality and controls across the house.

Solar PV Installation at Felpham Community Hall and Conference Centre.

Solar PV Installation at Felpham Community Hall and Conference Centre.

Our Arundel based Solar PV team have just completed the installation of a 15.6 KWp Solar PV system at Felpham Community Hall and Conference Centre. The Community Centre is located amongst the new Blake’s Mead Estate, on Meaden Way, Felpham, West Sussex and providing a really valuable community resource.

Project Farmhouse - Blog 1 - Introduction

Project Farmhouse - Blog 1 - Introduction

The first blog post in our series about our Farmhouse Project, working with our customers to make a Grade II listed building into a comfortable and modern family home.

Marlborough Primary School - Solar PV Installation 2018

Marlborough Primary School - Solar PV Installation 2018

Marlborough Primary School is part of the REAch South Academy Trust. The Primary School is based in the heart of Plymouth and is in an old granite building that has proven hard to heat and light effectively resulting in large energy bills.

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Bright Spark Energy were asked to design a solution that not only reduced the energy consumption of the buildings but also to improve lighting quality.  We were asked to provide a Solar PV system in conjunction with an LED Lighting project to reduce the reliance on grid bought electricity.  The School was using 69,500 kWhs per annum for Electricity paying a high electricity rate.

Solar PV System – reducing the energy from the grid.

We proposed and installed a 49.8KWp Solar PV System at Marlborough Primary School subsidised by a Social Enterprise operating rental with no upfront cost to the School. 

Using the standard MCS yield calculator we calculated the following yields for the installation. 

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Performance 12 months on

We have been tracking the performance of the Solar PV system as the O&M partner to the social enterprise funder using the Meter Online enabled Solar PV Meter– in the past 12 months the system has worked well and outperformed our initial expectations. 

Expected Actual

Yield (kWhs) 49,950 . 52,667.8

Export (kWhs) 7,492 27.3

Electricity Saving (£) 5,094.90 6,320.14

FITs Income (£) 2,157.84 2,275.25

Export Income (£) 367.88 0


The School has consumed almost all of the Solar PV generated maximising self-consumption and increasing the savings generated to be re-invested back in to Teaching and Learning.

After paying the operating rental quarterly in arrears the Primary School will generation a net saving of £ 3,100.01 to invest back into the social mission of the fund – to further the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children.

 

 Customer Contact Details:

Ian Carnwell – Director of the Learning Environment

Web: www.reachsouth.org  |

Twitter: @ReachSouth1

Cutting energy costs - is renewable energy the answer?

Cutting energy costs - is renewable energy the answer?

Becoming more environmentally sustainable is becoming increasingly more important from a financial perspective as well as the right thing to do says Mark Stevenson, Director at Bright Spark Energy. 

LED Lighting upgrade at Springhill Academy

LED Lighting upgrade at Springhill Academy

See how upgrading to LED Lighting at Springhill Primary Academy at no capital cost, resulted in better teaching and learning environments, up to 80% savings on electricity costs and a 13 year warranty.

Steyning Downland Scheme Gateway Building

Steyning Downland Scheme Gateway Building

The Steyning Downland Scheme engages the local community and young people in particular, in enhancing the natural beauty of 165 acres of the South Downs National Park for the benefit of the community, the land and its wildlife. They are a registered charity, run in accordance with Christian values, partnering with the Wiston Estate, the National Park Authority, A Rocha UK and local volunteers.

The Charity has recently completed the construction of a new 'gateway' building at the entrance to their Nature Reserve for use by schools, community groups and the general public.

Matthew Thomas, Project Manager of Steyning Downland Scheme and Tara Kennard, Business Manager of Bright Spark Energy.

Matthew Thomas, Project Manager of Steyning Downland Scheme and Tara Kennard, Business Manager of Bright Spark Energy.

The Problem

Matthew Thomas, Project Manager at the Downland Scheme, contacted Bright Spark Energy to work with the Scheme to provide power to the Gateway Building to charge tools and electronic learning resources and lighting for function and external lighting for Solar PV.

The Gateway Building provided a number of challenges.  Because of the age of the distribution network in the area, providing mains electricity was not a cost-effective option so our Solar PV design team had to come up with a number of other options.

The Solution

At Bright Spark we have a history of designing and installing off grid Solar PV systems with battery storage, so we designed a bespoke Solar PV system for the Downland Schemes Gateway Building.  The Off-Grid System included:

·      260w Yingli Solar Panels x 5

·      Victron Blue Solar MPPT

·      Victron Phoenix Inverter

·      Victron Super AGM Super Cycle M8 Batteries x 2

·      New Distribution Board with new LED IP rated Lighting, External Bulkheads with MW sensors         and an             LED PIR Spotlight.

The system will have the following characteristics:

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The Solar Panels on the Gateway Building.

The Solar Panels on the Gateway Building.

The team at the Gateway were very happy with the end result. 

“We’re extremely grateful to Bright Spark Energy for helping us out with a power supply for the Gateway” said Matthew Thomas, SDS Project Manager. “Now we can fit lighting inside, which will be a huge help, particularly for those short, winter days when we do most of our habitat conservation work”.

Donating the System to the Downland Scheme.

 We were so excited about the project we decided to sponsor the gateway building by donating the Solar PV system with battery storage and the LED lighting.

“Part of our ethos is to invest our time and profits back into working on local community projects such as the Steyning Downland Scheme.  I was very impressed by the work they have been doing and the positive impact it will have on the local schools and wider community.  Mark Stevenson, Managing Director, Bright Spark Energy.

 

Charlie and Saul installing the Charge Controller and Inverter.

Charlie and Saul installing the Charge Controller and Inverter.

How Bright Spark Energy helped a company significantly save on rising electricity bills!

How Bright Spark Energy helped a company significantly save on rising electricity bills!

On Reflection Mirrors is the leading specialist antique mirror dealers in the UK.  The company is run from a Barn in the village of Charlton Horethorne in Somerset.

The company’s electricity bills were rising significantly in order to effectively light and heat the showroom, restoration workshop and offices.  Electricity costs were approx. £ 2,500 per annum and rising.  The work areas had a mix of 5ft and 6ft T8/T12 and traditional fluorescent lighting, track lighting and additional lamps plugged into sockets to provide a good enough lighting level.  Heating was a mix of electric and infrared heating panels.  All of these panels were at least five years old and not very efficient.

Bright Spark were asked to design a solution that not only reduced the energy consumption of the buildings but also to improve lighting quality.  We were also asked to provide a Solar PV system to reduce the reliance on grid bought electricity.

Solar PV System

The showroom was in the curtilage of a grade 2 listed building so Bright Spark worked with the customer and the local Planners to develop a scheme that met local planning requirements.  It was important to minimise the impact of the Solar panels on the aesthetics of the building so through dialogue and a number of different iterations all parties agreed on a solution.

We proposed a 6.84KWp Solar PV System with all black JA Solar 285w panels and 2 Solis Inverters.  Our installers also ensured that all of the mid clamps, end clamps and the end of the mounting rails were sprayed black to fit in with the surroundings.

Using the standard MCS yield calculator we calculated the following yields for the installation. 

This had the following pay back based on the low electricity cost of 10.45p.

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Overall it is estimated that the customer will save approx. £ 23,000 over the 20 years of the FITs period based on an RPI of 2.5% per annum and an EPI of 5% per annum.

LED Lighting

The existing lighting in the building was of a poor quality and inefficient.  During the Solar PV installation our team also swapped over the lighting.  The mirror showroom was a real challenge to light effectively.  In order to replace the track lighting and old fluorescent battens we redesigned the lighting scheme to maximise the effect of the stock below.  We chose a 4000k “Neutral White” color with an opal diffuser to soften the spread of light.

Lighting quality – pre installation.

Lighting quality – pre installation.

Impact of the LED Lighting.

Impact of the LED Lighting.

The benefits of the LED lighting upgrade have included:

  ·       72% reduction in energy usage

·       Better quality lighting improving the showroom and working

        environments

·       Reduction in heat during the summer months

·       Significantly reduced maintenance costs with a long term 10-year           

        warranty.

Overall the LED installation cost £ 657.38 plus VAT with a payback period of 2.4 years.

Next Steps:

The customer has recently contacted us to further investigate the opportunity of Battery Storage linked to the Solar PV system and new high efficiency heating panels for the showroom and working areas.

 

Customer Contact Details:

Mrs Alison Roelich

Managing Director,

On Reflection Mirrors, Bull Inn Farmhouse, Horse Lane, Charlton Horethorne, Somerset, DT9 4NL

info@on-reflection.co.uk

01963 220723 / 07971 889093

Bright Spark Energy are lighting up the gateway ...

Bright Spark Energy are lighting up the gateway ...

The Steyning Downland Scheme Charity has recently completed the construction of a new 'gateway' building at the entrance to their Nature Reserve for use by schools, community groups and the general public.  The team at Bright Spark will sponsor the gateway building by donating an “off-grid” Solar PV system with battery storage and LED lighting to extend the use of the building to all year round.

Bright Sparks Eco Barn Progress ...

Bright Sparks Eco Barn Progress ...

The Bright Spark team have been working extremely hard over the last few weeks converting our very own HQ and Eco Barn just outside of Arundel, West Sussex. 

We welcome you to our brand new Eco Barn HQ!

We welcome you to our brand new Eco Barn HQ!

... 2018 is an exciting year for the Bright Spark Team, after completing over 40 Solar and LED Projects in 2017 across England and Wales, we thought it was time to regroup and relocate the company from London to a new headquarters near Arundel in West Sussex.

However, that is not the only exciting news! We are self-building our very own renewable project – our Eco Barn! The Eco Barn represents everything we are passionate about; saving our customers money, energy and reducing the overall carbon footprint in the UK. We thought to ourselves, what better way to show how committed we are to this, than to showcase our work in our everyday workspace! After all, if we want to work in it, you’ll want it in your school or business, right?

The new Eco Barn will highlight the various energy efficiency options that we can provide. This includes the use of Solar PV and battery storage, LED lighting, Infra-Red Heating and high levels of insulation, and the barn will eventually become our everyday base and HQ.  We have also tried to be as sustainable as possible with the construction by using local small businesses, locally sourced materials and the most energy efficient technologies. 

It has also been a great team building exercise for us, and a completely internal project with works undertaken by our very own Bright Spark Team, Mark, Grant, Saul, Charlie and Chris (as well as Tara on tea duty!).

Mark, the Managing Director of Bright Spark, said “Moving the company down to the West Sussex coast has been great for us.  Instead of spending money on extortionate London rent we can instead invest in the right people to join our team and help us grow.  The talent available in the local area mixed with the improved standard of living has made a real difference.  We are looking forward to becoming part of the community here in Arundel!”

The barn is still very much in its early days right now, but we’re excited to get the project finished and have our very own cosy barn, all while helping the planet!  We are already starting to build long lasting relationships with schools, businesses and providers in the area and become part of the community.  Keep your eyes peeled for our barn updates which will be shared through our social media channels as well as our blog pages!!