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Case Study

Plymouth Argyle Solar PV

Plymouth Argyle

  • 58.85kW solar PV array
  • 20-year benefit £417,659.44
  • Green energy

The Client

Otherwise known as ‘The Pilgrims’ and ‘The Green Army’ on the terraces, Plymouth Argyle Football Club holds a position of great affection and loyalty in its local community. Founded in 1886 as Argyle Football Club, the club’s first match took place on 16 October 1886. Disbanded 1894 and resurrected in 1897 as one part of a general sports club, it became known known as Argyle Athletic Club. In 1903, the club joined the Southern League, becoming professional in the process. The Southern League was effectively the English 3rd tier and Plymouth Argyle won the League championship in 1912-13. In 1920-21 the club entered the Football League.

The team currently competes in League Two.

Since 1901, they have played at Home Park, known as the ‘Theatre of Greens’. Argyle is one of two Devon clubs who compete in the Football League.

The Challenge

IU Energy is Plymouth Argyle’s official energy partner; a valued relationship which has been in place
since 2008. In practice, this means arranging the club’s fixed-term green energy contracts at the best
market rates. We’ve been given this task for so many years because in their words, we deliver, ‘a mutually supportive arrangement, which enables them (IU Energy) to improve our energy performance…’.

In 2019, Plymouth Argyle management further entrusted us to design, supply and install a 58.85kW Solar PV system onto the roof area of the new multi-millon pound Grandstand at Home Park. That’s a significant amount of self-generated green energy and a welcome contribution to the City’s 2030 net zero-carbon goal.

Uniquely for this major project, IU Energy suggested that the Solar PV array mounting should spell the letters ‘PAFC’ – readily agreed to by the club. With a deadline of November 2019, close liaison with the
building contractors was critical to ensure seamless timing and synchronisation.

The Solution

Before anything else, IU Energy made multiple pre-contract site visits with the main contractor. It was clear from this, that the requirement was for a full turnkey project, from design to handover.

A project of this scale requires multi-faceted co-ordination between the main contractor and a host of sub-contractors, along with the critical expectation and time management that goes with it. In this case we collaborated with the main contractor’s Project Manager, sub contracted electricians (who needed to situate the relevant electrical components in the right place), crane hirers, supply chains to co-ordinate deliveries, scaffolders and roofers to name but a few. Many of these trades and services were on-site simultaneously.

In short, the physical installation of a large Solar Array amidst a full construction project is only 20% of a complex delivery schedule. Managing the process and all the necessary communication to deliver the
planned result is the other vital 80%. It’s one of the key reasons why the main contractor engaged IU Energy for this highly visible project element; a track record of successful, large construction, multi-contractor installations.

The completed Solar PV installation consists of 214 x BYD 275W polycrystalline modules, connected to a Solis 50kW inverter, along with all required electrical accessories, (including generation meter, DC/AC Isolators), mounted onto a S:Flex Mounting system.

The Results

Delivery of this huge, eye-catching ‘PAFC’ Solar PV array was on-time and within budget. The projected performance is as follows –

  • 1st year estimated annual savings on electricity bill @ 97% – £7,297.14
  • Total benefit over 20 years – £417,659.44*
  • System investment payback period – 5.5 years
*Calculated using original electricity supply price of 12.2p/kWh against onsite self-consumption at 97% of total power generated from the PV system. Applied to this, is an average inflation rate of 10% per annum against the cost of energy.

“We are very pleased to team up with IU Energy once again in a mutually supportive arrangement, which enables them to improve our energy performance…”

Plymouth Argyle

Chief Executive

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