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Case Studies

The University and Professional Development Centre (UPDC)

Adding battery power to a building’s solar array is helping The University and Professional Development Centre to cut carbon emissions in higher education in Suffolk.

  • Industry:  College
  • System no:  1
  • Power:  300kW
  • Capacity:  360kWh
  • Application:  Storing solar generation, reducing emissions
  • Functionality:  Site decarbonisation, storing excess energy storage

Background

High-quality and adult education services provider, the University and Professional Development Centre (UPDC) in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has been looking to improve its sustainability. 

To reduce its carbon footprint, UPDC (part of the Eastern Education Group) installed 500 kilowatts (kW) of rooftop solar panels – a significant step towards harnessing renewable energy.

With the building’s history as a warehouse and engineering facility, and rising energy prices, the estate’s team at UPDC sought to maximise the use of its solar panel-generated renewable energy. This was largely down to its substantial energy consumption, as UPDC is a year-round operational facility, and had seen a threefold increase in its energy bills.

UPDC sought a specialised battery energy storage supplier through a compliant procurement framework to better utilise its renewable energy and overall enhance sustainability efforts. The aim was to store excess solar energy for use during peak demand periods, thus reducing future energy bills and improving its sustainability output.

The Brief

UPDC chose Connected Energy as a suitable provider through LASER’s Additional Services Framework. This framework not only offered UDPC a streamlined procurement process through its pre-approved list of vetted suppliers but also provided a compliant route to access the innovative technology they required.

Connected Energy’s innovative energy storage system presented an additional layer of sustainability by repurposing batteries from end-of-life electric vehicles, extending their lifespan, and reducing the environmental impact associated with new battery production.

We worked with UPDC and conducted a feasibility study, demonstrating the potential cost savings and sustainability benefits of integrating an energy storage system with the existing solar array.

Results

Our feasibility study led to the recommendation and installation of its 300kW E-STOR system.

By installing the E-STOR system UPDC’s reliance on the grid has been significantly reduced, resulting in substantial cost savings and a reduction in carbon emissions.

The system has also benefitted the campus’s energy efficiency by allowing UPDC to store excess solar energy during periods of low demand and use it during peak demand periods.

If this installation works as well as we anticipate, we will look at installing further energy storage systems in tandem with rooftop solar arrays across the Group’s estate. Sustainability is a priority for the Group, we are committed to several of the UN’s sustainable development goals and are exploring more options for capital investment to further reduce the carbon footprint of every campus in our portfolio.

Andrew Swift , Group Director of Estates for Eastern Education Group

Next Steps

We maintain a close relationship with West Suffolk College to continually optimise the BESS’ performance, and our partnership has expanded beyond the initial scope, as evidenced by the supplier’s recent participation in a student sustainability open day, where they conducted system tours and engaged students in discussions about career opportunities in the green sector.

The Eastern Education Group has further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by installing EV charging points across its estate and is in the process of replacing its carbon-fuelled fleet with energy-efficient alternatives.

This commitment ensures that vehicles using the charging stations at UPDC are powered by renewable energy from the solar array and energy storage system.

Close up of the battery storage system.
open battery energy storage system

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