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Commercial distribution centre with solar installation

In addition to being one of the longest established grain and seed merchants in East Anglia, Frederic Smart Ltd also offer a warehousing and distribution service to the food industry. The business has recently relocated into a purpose-built warehouse and offices and South Cambridge District Council had applied a planning condition to the new building requiring a modest amount of renewable energy.


About one third of warehouse is for the storage of chilled food ingredients, so electricity demand in the building to run refrigeration units is high and at its peak when the weather is warmer.   This correlates perfectly with the times of the year when the sun is strongest and the days longest.  Using in-house PV modeling, Intrinsic Power was able to design a PV system that minimises the amount of electricity exported to the grid, maximizing self-consumption and optimizing the overall financial return.  The resulting solar system is significantly larger than required to discharge the planning requirement.  It was recognized that a solar PV system is an excellent investment in its own right.


The thoughtful panel layout of the resulting 120kWp system, fitted to trapezoidal insulated roof panels, avoids covering the roof-windows and conserves natural lighting.  Space was also left to extend the array in the future.


The system was installed over a 2 week period, during the customer’s busiest time of the year, with no disruption to their business.  Work schedules were carefully arranged so as to avoid clashing with the activities of the business.


Our output calculations suggest that the PV system will have paid for itself by year 6, and will be cash positive for the remaining 14 years of FIT payments.  Early indications are that the real world performance is higher than the modeling.



Case Study

Frederic Smart


A division of Viridian Solar



Project Date

System Size

Number of Panels

Energy Production

CO2 Savings

September 2014

120 kWp


96,500 kWh/year

66,000 kg/year