Optex shed light on security at solar farm

The largest solar panel farm accredited by the UK’s electricity supplier regulator is being protected by a security system that includes a number of award-winning REDSCAN laser detectors from Optex.

Based in Wales, the solar farm consists of 22,500 panels and is built on a 32-acre site across four fields near Usk in Monmouthshire. The farm will generate enough electricity to power 2,500 homes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, feeding power into the national grid and saving at least 60,792 tons of CO2 emissions over 25 years by comparison with fossil fuels.

The site is physically protected by just a low chain-link fence to keep out sheep and passing ramblers. The owner, however, wanted to improve security by creating a ‘virtual fence’ to detect potential intruders linked to 15 fixed and seven pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras, so turned to remote site specialist AVA Security for the answer.

With four outputs for remote video applications and four programmable detection areas linked with these outputs, REDSCAN is ideal for controlling PTZ cameras as Phil Grunewald, Managing Director at AVA Security, explains: “We specified 29 REDSCANS as the only detector that could offer a closely defined detection area and the flexibility to eliminate nuisance alarms from animals and those triggered by environmental conditions. We first became aware of the REDSCANS at IFSEC and this is the first major site we have installed them at,” he said.

“So far they have been very impressive with the best capture rate and minimum false alarms. We have worked on a number of renewable energy sites and these are the only detectors we have come across that can blank out zones very specifically and in a much more targeted way – with others it can be a bit haphazard!”

Optex says that REDSCAN will detect a moving object’s position, size and speed and can be programmed to only go into alarm when intruders enter specific areas, resulting in the highly reliable detection of intruders with minimal false alarms. It has already been awarded Security Excellence and IFSEC Awards in the last year.

Nigel Hackett, sales director for Optex Europe, commented: “The REDWALL detectors have always had a track record for consistent performance and low false alarm rates, making the surveillance of remote sites easier and more reliable,” he says. “Our new laser technology brings an additional element to outdoor detection by creating highly customisable zones, either vertically through a virtual wall or horizontally, thus enabling the solution to be tailored to each specific site.”