Tuesday 17 October 2023

Going green with solar power!!

Flags flying outside the Garador manufacturing facility in Yeovil

It's fair to say we've been busy over the last 12 months, and not just with manufacturing garage doors! Back in June 2022, we decided to take the plunge and commission a study to see how feasible it would be to install solar panels on the roof of our Yeovil manufacturing plant. After considering a variety of different renewable options, each with their pros and cons, we settled on solar panels as they were deemed to be the most practical and cost-effective method of generating electricity. 

With the decision to shift towards green energy taken, we then explored costs and potential suppliers to do the job. The roof also needed to be checked and examined to see whether it could support solar panels, which would exert a significant pressure and weight across the building. The factory was built way back in 1984, and opened the following year, and is still in really great condition, thanks to regular maintenance and care from our diligent and conscientious maintenance engineers. The roof sheeting and structure of the building hadn't degraded.

Replacing the roof lights in preparation for the solar panels

After many months of meetings and preparations, the scaffolding needed to access the roof went up in late March 2023. Work to prepare the roof ready for thousands of solar panels could finally begin. Some good old-fashioned elbow grease was needed to clean the roof and so a team of cleaners' pressure washed the entire area getting rid of any dirt or grime which had accumulated up there. 

Painting the roof with a special rubberised paint

By now June had come around, the birds were chirping and the bees were buzzing, and the days were much brighter and longer - perfect weather for working out in the fresh air! Apparently, the roof required a lick of paint too! So we decided that if we were going to do it, we might just as well make a really good job of it and use a protective rubberised paint that would protect the surface for many years to come. We also replaced the roof lights. 

Hundreds of solar panels all lined up ready to go on the roof

By late July, the roof work was complete, hundreds of square feet of roofing sheets have been painted, fixings replaced and roof lights swapped out for new ones too. Over 1500 solar panels were delivered to our yard just a couple of weeks later and goodness gracious was it an incredible sight to see so many all boxed and palleted up ready to go. 

Installers fitting the solar panels on the roof at Garador

During August the solar panel installers began loading all of the photovoltaic panels onto the roof, carrying them manually across the roof surface to get them into place. It was a huge undertaking and looking back, you could see the sheer scale of what had to be achieved. 

Back on the ground work was underway to implement a state-of-the-art system, for converting sunshine into the electricity that we know and love. One of the best ways to save energy is via an excellent flexible control unit and the new state-of-the-art equipment does just that, integrating power from our new solar panels when necessary. This means you only use mains electricity when you really need to.

The finished result, over 1500 solar panels installed on the roof at Garador

The solar panels will help run all of the production equipment in the factory, so we don’t have to use as much fossil fuel based energy and make less pollution. Back on 28th September 2023 we made our first garage door using renewable energy generated from the solar panels. It's still early days and difficult to predict exactly how much of our energy will come from the solar panels, but currently it looks like the solar panels will give us more than half of the power we need in the summer, and still a lot in the winter. The system will make over 700,000 kWh of clean electricity every year and help to save a lot of money on energy bills cutting CO2 emissions by over 300 tonnes. What an achievement!

We want to do our bit for the environment and the introduction of solar panels is an important step. Keep your eyes peeled for more green initiatives in the coming months and years.