North East Contracts

North East Contracts is a commercial roofing and wall cladding specialist based in Arbroath. It provides a range of services to main contractors, local authorities, private companies and homeowners throughout Scotland and the Scottish Isles.

Home for the company is a 314 sq ft building, providing office space and a workshop. Keen to reduce energy costs and maximise on the benefits of solar energy, Jacqueline Hacking, Managing Director, said:

When we first started feeling the effects of the energy crisis, we were concerned that the rate of energy costs were continuing to increase. I felt there was a need to offset our energy and look into a more sustainable future.

“Our heating supply is electric, and post-covid we built individual offices to allow segregation. Heating a lot of spaces is expensive and keeping our offices warm through the winter was our main concern. An additional consideration was the electric-powered saw in our workshop that is used for specific projects only.”

“We installed solar to offset day-to-day energy use in our offices, as well as periodic workshop use. We chose Forster Group for our solar installation after working together on several industrial roofing projects over the years. We have a longstanding relationship with them and trust their knowledge and experience of the solar energy field.”

Forster Group completed the installation of a 16.4kWp roof-mounted system for North East Contracts in May 2023 which comprises one Solis inverter and 40 JA Solar 410W panels.

Over the first six months, the solar panels provided a significant energy saving of 60% per month. Annually, this will have a major impact on the company’s energy bills, reducing total costs by approximately £2,000.

Forster Group also supported North East Contracts in securing an interest free Business Energy Scotland government loan for the solar panels, allowing them to make their investment with an eight year payback period.

“As well as seeing impressive results in our financial savings, we also have access to the manufacturer’s online system so that we can keep track of how much energy is being used. We can also monitor the amount of energy being taken from and put back into the grid and how much energy our solar panels are producing. This is a great way to track how self-sufficient we are and has been incredibly useful in allowing us to cut back. The system previously flagged an issue in which our heating system was using too much energy, so we turned off our additional heat pump and managed to half our usage.

“We’re thrilled with the performance of our solar installation so far and I will continue to recommend Forster Group as an established local company that knows the market. The technical team is incredibly helpful in providing analytical research to demonstrate cost savings and plan out the most effective solar solution to benefit their customers.

“The customer care from Forster Group has been second to none and our 10 year guarantee means they will monitor our solar installation to ensure everything is working at its most efficient capacity, making the journey totally stress-free.”

Clayton Caravan Park

Clayton Caravan Park is a luxury holiday park and leisure business in the East Neuk of Fife, located in a scenic tranquil setting near St Andrews. The holiday park has 700 caravans for guests and a range of on-site facilities, including a restaurant, bar and a leisure centre with a swimming pool, gym and sauna.

Managing Director, Andrew Kennedy became concerned post-Covid when, like many businesses, the holiday park was struck with a surge in electricity costs.

“Our energy bills surged, with a huge increase in December 2022, and I knew we needed to change our approach. The significant increase in running costs meant that we had to find a solution to become less reliant on energy from the grid. The big energy users at the time were our leisure centre and swimming pool, restaurant and bar, and main reception area. So we decided to invest in solar PV to take control of our energy usage.

“I know several businesses, including local farmers, who have used Forster Group in the past and are extremely happy with their results, which is why we decided to use them for our solar PV installation.”

Installation across three key areas of the site was completed in Summer 2023, including:

● Restaurant, kitchen and games arcade: 26.73kWp system with 2 Fronius inverters and 89 Viridian integrated modules. Projected 7.2 year payback, 17.35% ROI.

● Main office, laundry room and reception: 14.58kWp system with 1 Fronius inverter and 36 Viridian integrated modules. Projected 8.8 year payback, 13.27% ROI.

● Leisure centre and swimming pool: 52.48kWp system with 2 Fronius inverters and 128 JA Solar 410W panels. Projected 3.4 year payback, 36.83% ROI.

The solar panels now provide 30-40% of the energy used across those buildings and will reduce energy bills by approximately 15% per year, resulting in a massive saving on overheads for the business.

“Our solar installation is already saving us considerable sums of money. It also adds to our green credentials as a business by helping us to lower our carbon footprint.

“We would absolutely recommend Forster Group to anyone looking to have solar installed. The entire process was very smooth – from initial meetings, design and planning, through to installation. The engineers who carried out the job were excellent and completed the project within the promised timescales. The panels are working very well and the amount of energy savings we’ve made so far delivers on Forster’s figures that were promised at the outset.”

Work is currently underway with Forster Group for Clayton Caravan Park Limited’s next phase of installation. This will be two larger ground-mounted solar projects which will feed into the main electric usage for the caravan park.

Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, Methill

In the spring of 2016 Forster completed a 159kWp solar PV installation for the Levenmouth Community Energy Project. 180 panels were fitted on the roof of the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre in Methill. A further 440 panels were installed on unused ground next to East Fife Football Club’s, Bayview stadium. The Levenmouth Community Energy Project aims to be the world’s foremost demonstrator of innovative applications of hydrogen derived from renewable sources. The electricity generated by the panels is being fed into a microgrid, supplying buildings on the adjoining business park. It is also being used for the production of hydrogen for energy storage and hydrogen fueled vehicles. Click here for further information on the project.

Sacred Heart Church, Aberdeen

The refurbishment of this beautifully designed Grade B Listed church in Aberdeen provided Forster with a perfect opportunity to showcase an outstandingly high level of workmanship.  Forster completed the retiling works for main contractor Robertson Construction Eastern.  Under the watch of Historic Scotland, 25 panels and 4 conicals (covering a roof area of 409m²) were stripped and re-tiled using Redland (light mixed brindle) Rosemary Clay plain tiles.  Particular attention must be drawn to the meticulous skill that went into the large (30m²) conical, where battens were notched and each tile carefully measured and chamfered twice to follow the conical roof profile.  This highlights the extreme patience and high skill level of the slater.  Other works included the use of lime mortar detailing at the ridges and abutments.

COPFS, Ballater Street, Glasgow

The in-roof solar installation of the Crown Office, Procurator Fiscal’s Office provided Forster with the ideal opportunity to showcase their integrated roofing and solar service on a sensitive, fully operational building in central Glasgow.

An inspection of the roof was carried out prior to the solar installation and on consideration of its age and relatively short remaining life expectancy, a decision was made to incorporate the renewal of the entire 1,800m² roof covering into the project. As the roof structure was not designed to withstand the weight of natural slate, the existing slate-composite roof was stripped and 25,000 Redland Cambrian ‘Slate Grey’ tiles were fitted.

Black panels and an in-roof fixing system were selected to integrate and sensitively blend the solar arrays in with the new roof finish. A total of 96 (270Wp) panels were installed across the two most suitable roof panels. The clean, self-generated solar energy is providing power to the offices and helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the building.

During scaffold erection, out of hours working was incorporated into the programme to minimise the disruption to those working within this busy building. Also as the scaffold was being erected in close proximity to street lighting on an exceptionally busy public footpath, the street lighting had to be shut off during site operational hours.

The design and operation of the building restricted the positioning of hoisting equipment to a single location. This meant that additional time for handballing materials had to be accounted for within the programme of works.

Our high standards of health and safety were again required to ensure the safety of all involved and impacted by the works, including the HSE prosecutor, whose office was in this busy four story building.

Pitmedden Garden, Ellon

The National Trust for Scotland’s beautifully green Pitmedden Garden in Aberdeenshire is now even greener with the introduction of solar PV panels. Installed on the roof of the Gardeners storage shed, the PV array generates enough energy to power the Museum of Farming Life and all other buildings at the stunning Aberdeenshire garden. In fact the 115 panel array generates over 25,000kWh of electricity a year, enough electricity to power 6 homes. In addition the site will reduce it’s CO² emissions by 11 tonnes per year through their PV installation.

The National Trust for Scotland has established a ‘Preferred PV Partner’ arrangement with us to help reduce their electricity costs and cut their fossil fuel use & carbon emissions. We have been working with the Trust since the beginning of 2014 – identifying suitable sites, as well as designing and installing PV systems at a number of locations across Scotland. These include Inverewe Garden & Estate and The House of Dun.

Doo’cot Cricket Pavilion and Shelter, Perth

The striking setting and impressive design of the Grade B listed Doo’cot Park pavilion in Perth combined with its historical significance created the perfect context for Forster to demonstrate their skills in heritage tiling.

The pavilion was designed by Smart, Stewart and Mitchell and built between 1924/1925. The Gannochy Trust was later founded in 1937 by Arthur, known as A K Bell, for charitable and public purposes as a direct result of his family’s successful distilling business.  In addition to the cricket ground A K built the innovative Gannochy housing estate between 1925 and 1932 to provide high quality rented accommodation for the people of Perth.

The Sandtoft Heritage Service provided an original specification for the contract.  Works to the cricket pavilion involved stripping the existing tile and retiling with Sandtoft Greenwood handmade clay pantiles.  Close attention to detail was required throughout but particularly to the facetted bell shaped tower.  Locally sourced larch bark timber was utilised to provide barge and fascia detailing.  Traditional lime mortar methods were adopted in keeping with the striking design.  All leadwork was replaced to meet the highest required standards.

House of Dun, Montrose

This re-slating and in-roof solar PV installation on the modest ‘Bunkhouse’ within the grounds of the National Trust for Scotland House of Dun demonstrates Forster’s ability to sensitively integrate solar PV into slated roofs.

Following consultation with Forster, the Trust selected the ‘EasyRoof’ mounting system and black framed panels to sensitively blend in with the house. The 15 panel (3.75kWp) PV installation provides power for the electric heating, showers and all other appliances, particularly during the summer months, when the house is more frequently occupied by students. The full south facing roof elevation was utilised to maximise the PV power potential.

The roof had a bell-cast, which presented a challenge to the installation team. This was overcome by the addition of support beneath the bottom row of panels.

This project is part of a ‘Preferred PV Partner’ arrangement with the National Trust for Scotland to help reduce their electricity costs and cut their fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. The Trust selected Forster’s based on their roofing and project management experience, particularly their expertise with working on historically sensitive and occupied buildings. Forster has been working with the Trust since the beginning of 2014 – identifying suitable sites, as well as designing and installing PV systems at a number of locations across Scotland. These include Inverewe Garden & Estate and Pitmedden Garden.

Grampian Growers, Montrose

Many farms and other agricultural related businesses are coming under increased pressure from their supply chain to become greener by finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

One such business is North East daffodil and seed potato co-operative Grampian Growers, who has turned to solar PV to generate its own supply of clean electricity.  The Montrose based co-operative grow, store and process daffodil bulbs, flowers and seed potatoes mainly for export to America, mainland Europe and North Africa.

“We were also keen to take control of our energy costs, by reducing the amount of electricity we buy in.  PV presented us with the perfect opportunity to do just that, by utilising the available roof space on the site” added Production Manager, Fergus Kelly.

The 593 panel 148.25kWp PV array was installed over two large south facing composite roofs by Forster Energy, Scotland’s leading supplier of roof-top solar PV for farmers.  An initial 50kWp array was installed in June to secure a higher feed in tariff rate.  A further 98.25kWp was added in September following approval of planning permission.

Constraints on grid capacity place a limit on the amount of electricity Grampian Growers can export.  Therefore a special export control system was installed to regulate the amount of electricity that is fed into the grid.  “Increased pressure on grid capacity has led to a growing number of instances of export restrictions being placed on renewable energy generators.  For this reason export control systems like this are becoming more widely used” explained Stephen Ward, Forster’s Design Engineer.

The new PV system is projected to have paid for itself within seven years and is set to provide a 19% annual return on the initial investment through energy savings and feed in and export tariff payments.

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