Businesses missing out on £12bn onsite solar energy savings

A new study has found that businesses across the UK could be missing out on a collective £12bn in annual energy savings but failing to evaluate facilities to see if they’re suitable for onsite rooftop solar installations.

Businesses missing out on £12bn onsite solar energy savings

PowerMarket’s recent Solar Feasibility study analysed the 30 largest science parks in the UK, this accommodates hundreds of small start-ups and features R&D laboratories and facilities. Based on this study, PowerMarket found that these science parks could save around £65m annually on energy costs by making just 5% of the suitable roof space available for solar installations.

PowerMarket claims that if this was replicated across just 5% UK’s commercial building estate – estimated at 2,500 hectares of south-facing roof space – businesses would collectively save around £12.6bn annually on energy costs.

Additionally, the carbon savings would combine to more than 12Mt of CO2 annually, based on the 53 kilo tonnes of carbon emissions that could be saved at the analysed science parks. Even when covering the lifecycle emissions of solar, including panel manufacture, installation, removal and recycling, the science parks would save more than 1.2Mt of CO2 over 25 years compared to using electricity generated from gas-fired power stations.

PowerMarket is calling on businesses to evaluate rooftop space at offices, data centres and warehouses in order to see if energy cost savings could be delivered.

2021 was heralded as “potentially the most significant year to date” for the UK’s solar industry, adding 730MW of new capacity, an increase of 36% compared to 2020.

Figures from Solar Energy UK showcase how the UK added 730MW of new solar capacity, a 36% increase on 2020 levels, when 538MW was installed.

According to the body, some 369MW installed in 2021 was rooftop solar, the highest total since 2015 when 839MW of capacity was installed. The 2015 levels reflect the “significant” subsidies available to solar at the time.

In total, solar PV capacity in the UK now sits at 14.6GW, up 5.3% compared to 2020 levels. Solar Energy UK notes that all three solar markets – residential rooftop, commercial scale and ground-mount – are seeing stable growth without the assistance of subsidies.

The UK is on course to double its solar capacity by 2030, but will need to treble it if the nation is to meet its net-zero target for 2050.

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