The UK’s largest UK solar farm has placed its trust in Unipart Security Solutions’ Monitoring & Response Centre to keep watch over a security system designed to deter and detect intruders who might consider entering the facility containing valuable high tech solar panels.
Westmill Solar Farm is located in a remote location on the outskirts of Swindon. In addition to the cost of replacing solar panels, the ability to provide power for the National Grid could be severely affected if acts of theft or malicious damage were to occur. A security solution was therefore required which would allow mobile patrols to be rapidly directed to the precise location of any incident.
Upon completion of a tender process, Blue Energy, awarded the contract to install a security system to Reading based system integrator, Westronics Fire & Security Ltd.
Whilst the robustness and ease of use of the security system, which needed to be effective regardless of the weather or lighting conditions, was the top priority, it was considered important not to increase light pollution in a location which is surrounded by green belt land. The client was also keen to minimise the running costs of the system. A conventional intruder alarm system verified by standard CCTV cameras would not therefore have been acceptable to the client as it would have involved the installation of supplementary lighting.
Working closely with Unipart Security Solutions and a number of security equipment manufacturers, Westronics designed a robust detection and signalling system which combines microwave perimeter detection, thermal imaging and high speed transmission technologies.
Microwave detection fencing, finely tuned to negate false alarms, is located one metre in from deer fencing which is installed around the site’s perimeter. When an intruder is detected, a FLIR PT series system, which incorporates both a highly sensitive thermal imaging camera and a high resolution Day/Night security camera, is automatically moved to observe and capture images of the event. The images are immediately transmitted over broadband to Unipart Security’s Monitoring & Response Centre where operators are on hand 24/7 to analyse the images and if appropriate, deploy a mobile patrol and/or report the incident to the police. Back-up signalling is available if required by way of GPRS transmission, whilst images of incidents are recorded on a Dallmeier digital video recorder so that they can be passed on to the police as evidence, if required.
The Unipart Security Monitoring & Response Centre is an NSI Gold Category II ARC and RVRC accredited facility. Located at Unipart Group’s headquarters in Oxford, the centre utilises a fully integrated operating platform which allows its operators to monitor clients’ premises, and respond to any incidents or emergencies, regardless of whether the system at the protected premises is analogue or IP network based.
Chris Dean Managing Director of Blue Energy said: “I am delighted to report that the system has exceeded our expectations. The project took just eight weeks to complete and the result of the efforts of all involved has resulted in a facility which is capable of providing just under 5 megawatts of power for the National Grid whilst offsetting 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Westronics, Unipart Security’s Monitoring & Response Centre and the security equipment manufacturers involved, all played a significant role ensuring the security system was commissioned on time. This was vitally important as there needed to be a very high level of protection from the moment the solar farm went operational. We are extremely satisfied with the system which gives us peace of mind in knowing that operators at the Unipart Security Monitoring and Response centre are able to watch over our highly valued asset 24/7.”