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Monitoring Solar PV System Performance for NHS Scotland Hospitals

Hospitals must keep optimal indoor conditions for patient care, and this can have a considerable energy cost in terms of space heating and ventilation. NHS Scotland is deploying solar power to reduce its energy bills, and PV system performance is being evaluated with a Logic Energy monitoring system.

Temperature, humidity and air quality have a considerable impact on comfort, productivity and occupant health in indoor spaces. However, these factors become critical in healthcare facilities, where they play a fundamental role in patient recovery and well-being.

HVAC tends to be the top energy expense in locations such as hospitals, hotels and commercial facilities, and especially hospitals due to their 24/7 operation. Fortunately, these buildings tend to have ample rooftop areas and are several stories high, creating optimal conditions for solar power:

  • A large rooftop can accommodate enough solar panels to achieve an installed capacity in the tens or hundreds of kilowatts.
  • The height of these buildings means they will be above most obstacles that could potentially cast shadows and diminish solar PV system performance.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been investing in solar PV systems over the past few years, as a strategy to reduce its electric bills and carbon footprint. NHS GGC operates several healthcare facilities, including the 14-story Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, officially opened in 2015 and one of the largest in the UK.

Queen Elizabeth NHS

Queen Elizabeth NHS

Multi-Site Solar Power Monitoring with LeSENSE by Logic Energy

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde required a solution that allowed the performance of solar photovoltaic systems to be monitored at multiple sites, starting with the recently built Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, with the main goal of assessing the financial return of the clean energy investment. A monitoring system by Logic Energy, coupled with our LeSENSE web portal, proved to be just the right match for the application.

LeSENSE offers a web interface through which NHS GGC can monitor its solar PV systems in real time, and it includes tools such as:

  • Creating customized charts and dashboards with the timeframe and variables specified by the user. For example, it is possible to graph the solar power production of multiple sites on the same graph for the last month, allowing performance to be compared from site to site.
  • The system allows alerts to be configured in response to events determined by the user. For example, if there is a fault that trips a breaker, the maintenance personnel of the respective facility can be notified automatically via e-mail or message.
  • Remote monitoring: LeSENSE allows any system to be monitored, regardless of its geographic location, as long as an internet connection is available.
  • LeSENSE offers a simplified version as a mobile app, to check project sites when there is no immediate access to a desktop or laptop computer.

With LeSENSE, NHS Scotland can monitor the performance of its solar PV systems in real time, and the tool serves as a basis to evaluate the performance of the investment. Validating project viability is an important step before deploying solar power at a large scale at more NHS facilities.

Simplicity and intuitiveness are two of the main advantages of LeSENSE. The system is designed to allow the end user to configure exactly how measurement results are reported and how alerts are sent.

Gillian Brown, Energy Manager for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, has the task of tracking the effectiveness of the Trust’s investment in renewable energy.

When the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital was built, a contractor installed a Logic Energy monitoring system . As this was not the only PV system installed within the Board we had a look at the functions of the Logic Energy system and compared these to some others on the market which had similar cost and set up. We decided that the system gave us the information for our purposes and chose to roll out the system to our other sites.

Currently we use the system for meter readings and data analysis. As the system has the ability output the data every 10 minutes, we can use this to find faults within the system along with tracking our financial return from the generation. In the near future we expect to output this data and import it into our on site Monitoring and Targeting system to allow full analysis with the rest of the billing information.

Getting familiar with the system, we have only used the technical support a couple of times .The team have been excellent and happy to help solve the issues we had.

The system in itself is very user friendly. It keeps the information in a simple format which can be interrogated to suit the on site requirements. We can store sites in groups which allows for better tracking when people are not used to the site set up. The on site graphing function is good for a quick overview to check system generation. Overall the system does exactly what we need without being over complicated.

 

Inverclyde Council

Inverclyde is one of 32 council areas used for local government in Scotland.

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We chose to use Logic Energy as it offered Inverclyde Schools a bespoke service that was tailored towards the individual schools needs. We now use the Logic Energy dashboards as part of the school curriculum and to help eco focus groups.”
Edward Montgomery
Property Services Manager - Inverclyde Council
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