Alternative Energy

Providing power for the Wellcome Genome Campus

22nd June 2021
Alex Lynn

Sited on The Wellcome Genome Campus, The Wellcome Sanger Institute is at the heart of a global hub of genomic research, education and engagement. It carries out scientific studies to understand the biology of humans and pathogens and leads partnerships across the globe to support research and transformative healthcare innovations. The institute’s study programmes are of a magnitude way beyond that of most biomedical research foundations. In short, its science is on an industrial scale.

In addition to a research site, the campus delivers educational and collaborative programmes and conferences, bringing together scientists from across the globe, with on-site accommodation set within a tranquil environment.

The challenge

On a site of such significance, protecting critical equipment, servers and security systems is a given, and reliability, flexibility and the ongoing cost of maintenance are key in the choice of an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) solution.

In addition, increasing numbers of organisations appreciate that keeping energy expenses in check goes hand-in-hand with reducing their carbon footprint. The Wellcome Genome Campus addressed both of these challenges.

The UPS solution – protecting critical loads

The relationship between The Campus and SolarEdge Critical Power (previously Gamatronic) began with the installation of the first UPS system over ten years ago. Currently, the site includes over thirty UPS systems ranging in capacity up to 800kW (made up of four 200kVA modular UPSs utilising 25kW power modules).

The flexible, modular approach was key in the choice of SolarEdge Critical Power as it allows the UPS systems to be upgraded as power demands grow and allows the customer the flexibility to select and distribute the 25kW modules where they are required.

In addition to critical UPS product delivery, the SolarEdge team provides annual, preventative maintenance services to the site’s UPS systems. As a result of the SolarEdge Critical Power team’s efforts, significant improvements in mean time before failure (MTBF) and mean time to repair (MTTR) have been made. Furthermore, due to the success of the SolarEdge UPS solutions, a replacement programme to swap out non-SolarEdge systems with SolarEdge Critical Power modular UPS equipment is now in place.

“We are very pleased with the SolarEdge UPS systems that have been installed across our facility for over a decade and they maintain stable and trouble-free operation. SolarEdge provides us consistent world-class service throughout the years for a growing portion of our UPS fleet,” said a Wellcome Institute spokesperson.

The solar PV system – driving down energy costs

Some years ago, two non-SolarEdge, rooftop solar PV systems were installed to generate long-term savings with green, renewable energy. However, the inverters had developed faults and stopped generating. With no ability to remotely monitor the systems and receive valuable, real-time data directly from the inverters, the failures resulted in valuable lost production.

Based on the reliability and serviceability of the SolarEdge UPS systems and, with energy storage and expertise in power electronics and manufacturing common to both divisions, when it came to overhauling the two PV systems, the site engineers turned once again to SolarEdge.

Future-proofing the asset

The selection of a SolarEdge PV solution gave the client the opportunity to optimise the system and take advantage of secure and comprehensive system monitoring. Repairing and upgrading the 260-panel solar PV system involved replacing the inverter and installing sixty Power Optimisers on an accommodation building, and replacing two inverters on a research building and installing a further one hundred Power Optimisers.

The installations were completed, with inverters generating green AC power in under seven days.

Improved reliability and more energy

Today, the SolarEdge Critical Power solution at The Wellcome Genome Campus comprises two parts: a series of fully maintained UPS systems, and two solar PV systems, delivering energy savings alongside continuity and peace of mind.

The modular UPS systems provide continuous power support to a number of Campus research facilities and their site security systems, which will continue to grow in step with the developing power needs of the site.

The upgrade to DC-optimised PV systems now maximises the power output from the solar panels, to reduce energy bills even further by allowing the panels to work at their optimum points. Remote, module level monitoring enables the customer to stay informed about system performance 24/7, so faults can be detected immediately. In the future, it will also mean fewer site visits, increased system uptime, and lower operational and maintenance costs. The customer also benefits from a system that includes both SafeDC and arc-fault detection and interruption to protect staff and visitors to the site.

“The fact that SolarEdge has been providing us with advanced and reliable UPS solutions for years made the decision to choose SolarEdge for the PV system an easy one. By upgrading the solar PV system we’ve increased the energy yield, and now that we are able to monitor the system on a regular basis, we can see exactly what’s going on,” said a Wellcome Institute spokesperson.

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