News

Looking back…on an iconic solar project

Looking back…on an iconic solar project

As a company, Dulas has had an incredible history over nearly four decades. We have tackled every conceivable terrain on every trading continent to install hydro, wind and solar.

But back in 2010, we were commissioned for one of our most challenging projects to date: to install solar across the façade of one of the tallest buildings in the country: London’s Heron Tower.

At 230m tall, Heron Tower (also known as Salesforce Tower) is a commercial skyscraper and the tallest building in the City of London’s financial district. It is also the third tallest building in Greater London, and as a building of such scale and imagination, all logistics and build operations were guaranteed to be much more complex and demanding then usual!

Architects Kohn Pederson Fox sought to ‘break out of the box’ with their futuristic design. Their environmental standards were uncompromising, and they aimed for Heron Tower to set a new benchmark for eco-conscious mega-builds – a skyscraper with a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’.

Dulas was engaged to specify, commission and trouble-shoot the thousands of metres of cabling, along-with the hundreds of inverters and PV laminates. We were also tasked with the daunting prospect of installing the system hundreds of metres above the financial district’s teeming streets.

The intensity of the project called for months of preparation, and the team painstakingly assembled a tailor-made system comprised of 657 custom-made building-integrated Optisol glass/glass laminate PV modules, along with 51 SMA inverters and two SMA web-box dataloggers to allow remote monitoring of the installation. The electrical system was designed to be carried by an electrical riser, where ‘villages’ of inverters would be marshalled into five G59 units. The electricity would then be distributed to the main landlord supply.

This level of acute innovation brought out the best from the team’s technical minds and the resulting install was a great success, with maximum output established immediately.  The system is now operating at an annual rated output of 92.5 MWhrs, with a corresponding annual income of £17,600 and an astonishing CO2 saving of 51,800 kg per annum.

The architects were thrilled with the outcome, and the building itself has become a firm favourite on the London skyline. We are pleased to report that Kohn Pederson Fox quickly achieved their ambition of creating a future-proofed and sustainable build. In January 2010, the architects proudly received their excellent rating from ‘BREEAM’, and Heron Tower set an example to the rest of the world as to what could be achieved with renewables.

The Dulas solar team is still deeply satisfied with their contribution to Heron Tower. Managing Director, Ruth Chapman writes that, ‘it’s brilliant to see such a prominent demonstration of our work, right in the heart of London. Heron Tower tangibly displays the possibilities of renewables. In the case of skyscrapers, the build has proven that we can integrate energy generation into the design and enhance the overall effect.’

Dulas continues to blaze a trail in solar development, and our team of solar consultants has helped thousands of clients with everything from planning and consent, right through to large-scale installation.

If you are interested in our solar services, call us today on 01654 705000