Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines moves towards a more sustainable future by installing a photovoltaic system at its Ipswich Head Office.

Case study summary

Award-winning Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, based on Whitehouse Industrial Estate in Ipswich, employed Worcester Renewable Energy to assist them in working towards a more sustainable future by installing a photovoltaic system on the south-facing roof of its Head Office, Fred. Olsen House. The building has been its headquarters since September 1993, accommodating nearly 180 staff who provide the support functions for the Company’s fleet of four cruise ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch.

The south-facing roof now features 198 of the latest generation of photovoltaic solar panels which utilise the full extent of available roof space. These will generate around 7% towards the average 614,000 kWh/year that Fred. Olsen House uses.

This is represents a saving of 44,055 kWh, about the same as the average consumption of twelve domestic dwellings, and a saving of 25,023kg of CO2, or the equivalent of 25 tonnes of sugar! Worcester Renewable Energy also installed a photovoltaic display in the foyer of the building to show employees and visitors the energy being generated and the CO2 savings being made.

Mike Rodwell, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “Installing a renewable energy system to the roof of Fred. Olsen House will contribute towards a more sustainable future by helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels. The installation of on-site generation is also an attractive investment and secures our energy costs for the future. We believe it to be one of the larger installations of solar panels in the local area, and we are very proud to be ‘doing our bit’ towards a more sustainable future for all of us.”

 Customer testimonial

“We are extremely pleased with the installation carried by Worcester Renewable Energy Ltd, the team on site were friendly and informative and the installation was completed quickly and efficiently. Our staff at Fred. Olsen House also found it very interesting watching the project progress. Installing this renewable energy system will contribute towards a more sustainable future for Fred. Olsen and will have a positive impact on our energy costs going forward.”
Penny Edgar. Director of Finance & Treasury Fred. Olsen.


Following a competitive tendering process, Worcester Renewable Energy was pleased to be appointed by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to design, supply, install and commission a PV system at its head office, Fred. Olsen House to help reduce its carbon emissions and energy costs.

Preliminary items

Prior to commencing the installation, Worcester Renewable Energy carried out the necessary preliminary items to confirm the feasibility of the proposed installation, including obtaining permission from the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to connect the system and carrying out a structural survey to confirm the ability of the roof to accommodate the static and wind loads to be imposed by the panels and mounting system.


Prior to the agreed commencement date of the installation, and arrival of the Worcester Renewable Energy installation team, risk assessments and methods statements were completed to ensure the safety of everyone on site. Scaffolding was then erected to permit the safe working at height. It had also been agreed during a pre-commencement meeting with the customer that a number of parking spaces would be coned off during the installation allowing for a loading bay to be incorporated into the scaffold design. This allowed pallets of panels to be lifted directly from delivery vehicles up onto the scaffold using a telehandler in a safe and controlled manner, avoiding double handling and the associated risk of damage.

Roof inspection

On arrival to site, the installation team first carried out a full inspection of the roof area receiving the panels for any notable defects requiring prior rectification. No defects were found which was reported to the building facilities manager, allowing setting out of the roof mounting system and panel array to proceed.

Installation of the roof mounting system

Following setting out, installation of the profile sheet roof mounting system was undertaken. The chosen system eliminated the need for mounting rails allowing the panels to sit closer to the roof surface giving it a more aesthetically pleasing and discreet appearance. The absence of mounting rails also reduced installation time thereby reducing the amount of time on site and disruption to the customer.

Completed roof mounting system

Completion of the roof mounting system was quickly achieved and signed off by the Worcester Renewable Energy Installation Manager ready for the panels to be installed.

Installation of cables trays and DC cables

With the roof mounting system completed, electric cable trays were installed from the roof back to the plant room ready to receive the DC strings from the panels.

Installation of DC strings

To reduce the amount of DC cable runs back to the plant room and to reduce cost, strings were connected in parallel on the roof rather than taking each string back to the plant room individually.

Panel delivery

With the roof mounting system and DC cabling complete, the panels were delivered to site and immediately lifted onto the loading bay of the scaffold using a telehandler avoiding the need for site storage and reducing the risk of potential theft or damage prior to their installation.

Installation of the photovoltaic panels

The accurate setting out and fixing of the roof mounting system was verified as the panel array quickly took shape with each panel being connected as it was secured into position.

Completed photovoltaic panels

A member of the roof installation team finished the panel array carefully fixing the final panel into position.

Electrical installation

Whilst the roof installation team were installing the roof mounting system, DC cabling and panels, the electrical installation team commenced work in the plant room housing to the main incoming electrical supply to the building.

 Installation of new sub-consumer unit

A new three phase sub-consumer unit was installed to facilitate circuit protection and local isolation of the new inverters and metering equipment.

Installation of inverters and metering equipment

Two three phase inverters were fixed into the previously agreed positions along with the DC isolators, AC isolators and generation meter so that wiring up of the system could commence.

Completed electrical installation

Once the wiring was complete each of the electrical items was tested and labelled and an electrical schematic with safe shut down and start up procedure mounted adjacent to the equipment for reference by any future competent person needing to work on the system.

Public display

Because the building is the head office for Fred. Olsen Cruise lines, a company branded public display was installed in the main foyer to display to staff and visitors the current performance and the cumulative performance of the system.

System performance

Shortly after commissioning the display showed that the system has generated 4,906 kWh of renewable electricity saving 2,786 kg of CO2 emissions.

Installation team

With the installation fully complete the installation team gathered for quick group photo where it was all smiles before the scaffold was removed leaving the site clean and tidy.

Customer handover

The installation handover pack containing all the operation and maintenance manuals was then presented to the Fred. Olsen directors of sales and finance.

Completed installation

From the ground the installation is hardly noticeable due to the minimal pitch of the roof and the low profile panel mounting system used.

Celebration & publicity

Fred. Olsen arranged for a drone to fly over the building to take aerial photos of the installation to celebrate its commitment to the reduction of CO2 emissions, and to promote the uptake of renewable energy by other companies in the area by publishing its achievements in local publications and trade magazines.