Bright Skies Ahead for Neo Environmental

Glint and glare assessments predict where and when solar reflections from solar panels occur, measured at 1-minute intervals over the course of a given year. The data captured can help the design process by reducing glint and glare, therefore minimising disruption for planned and existing developments, which has far-reaching consequences for the aviation industry.

Solar panels are designed to absorb as much light as possible and not to reflect it. However, glint can be produced as a reflection of the sun from the surface of a solar PV panel, usually described by those who see it as a momentary flash. Glint often needs to be tackled, especially where it can have a significant visual impact, causing viewer distraction errors on ground-based receptors, or affecting visibility for aviation workers.

Glint and glare can impact upon operators of aerodromes and other aviation infrastructure who need to give the issue due consideration. Neo Environmental’s approach to the problem was to develop an assessment to investigate the impact specifically on these aviation assets, focused on the impacts on Air Traffic Control Towers and on the final approach paths of planes coming into land. The data produced by these assessments is vital for safety.

One of the first assessments produced by Neo was conducted for Aberdeen firm Graham Mitchell Architects. They are currently providing architectural and planning services for a new project on behalf of Charles J Marshall (Aberdeen) Ltd., an important local employer looking to construct a solar farm to secure their company’s energy supply, as well as providing additional income for the business.

The application was for a 250kW ground mounted solar farm at the company’s head office in Chapel Works, Bucksburn, Aberdeen. The solar farm is located 2.1km from Aberdeen’s busy International Airport, the hub for the off-shore oil industry. The assessment entailed a particularly detailed analysis from Neo Environmental, which included a number of helicopter landing pads, for which the approach paths had to be plotted and measured.

A total of seven runways were assessed, as well as the Air Traffic Control Tower, which controls the flight paths for all of the commercial flights in and out of Aberdeen. The final outcome of Neo Environmental’s assessment showed that only two approach paths would be affected by glint and glare from the proposed development.

This impact was within the standard limits, and the report concluded that Graham Mitchell Architects should gain full planning permission. The project was approved in February of this year, and construction is expected to begin soon. Additionally, our report provided an assessment of the impact on Radar, Obstacle Limitation Surfaces and Electromagnetic Interference – providing useful data for the airport’s management, and for the solar farm’s architects. Due to the low height of the consented solar farm, this did not become a major issue.

Our glint and glare assessment procedure is data-rich, precise, and comprehensive. Since the first implementation in Aberdeen, Neo Environmental have had numerous commissions for this service for solar farms in Ireland.

For further details on our Glint and Glare services, please contact our Glasgow office on 0141 773 62 62 or info@neo-environmental.co.uk or contact our Irish Office on 00353 (0)45 844250 or info@neo-environmental.ie.

Our team will gladly advise on the glint and glare requirements for your project, whether it is a solar farm, or any structure with reflective properties.

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