Kingfisher to install battery storage at B&Q distribution centre

Home improvement retail giant Kingfisher has announced (30 July) that it will install energy storage facilities at one of its B&Q distribution centres as part of its overall goal to become a net-positive business by 2050.

Kingfisher claims the 756kw installation, which will be constructed at the firm’s Swindon distribution centre to complement its 552 rooftop solar panels, will reduce the site’s grid power consumption by almost a third (31%).

Currently, around 35% of the power generated by the solar panels at the site is exported back to the grid as surplus, but the energy storage facility, which is set to be completed in September, will enable B&Q to store up to 40% of the energy generated by the PV panels and release it back to the building during periods of peak pricing or overnight.

Kingfisher currently sources 3.5MW of renewable energy to power the centre each year – mainly from the grid – but claims the new storage installation will enable the building to run without grid energy on particularly sunny days.

B&Q UK and Ireland’s chief executive, Christian Mazauric, said the installation marks “an important milestone” in the company’s overall aim to reduce its absolute carbon footprint by 90%, against a 2008 baseline.

“UK energy prices aren’t going down,” Mazauric said. “Battery energy storage will help us to better manage the energy we generate on site and will move us even closer to our sustainability goals.”  

In addition to storing energy for use inside the centre, the battery installation will also power new electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the car park of the centre, which has achieved a BREEAM “Excellent” rating. 

Green heat

Kingfisher already purchases 100% renewable power for its operations in the UK and Ireland and is now making moves to make its heat greener as part of its Net Positive sustainability plan, which incorporates 50 specific targets for 2050, including making every Kingfisher store and customer home zero carbon at least.

The new battery storage facility in Swindon will be complemented by an existing biomass boiler and chipper, which runs on about 180 tonnes of waste wood annually, including wood from the site. Kingfisher estimates that the boiler and chipper, supplied by Austrian company Fröling, replaces the equivalent gas consumption of 600,000 kWh each year.

The announcement of the new battery facility in Swindon comes just weeks after Kingfisher unveiled its first net-zero energy Screwfix store in Peterborough, which brings together solar panels, battery storage and air source heat pumps to power operations. Kingfisher will have invested more than £10m in onsite renewables by the end of the year.

The company’s head of energy and renewables, Jeremy Parsons, said the investment at both locations reflects Kingfisher’s “wider approach” to sustainability as it strives to help customers reduce their own energy, water and carbon footprints under its new sustainable growth plan.

Parsons said that “many” of the energy saving initiatives undertaken by Kingfisher, such as installing solar panels and battery storage facilities, were also being explored by its customers.

edie’s Responsible Retail 2018

Solving key challenges – including modern slavery, supply chain involvement and the circular economy – will be one of the key themes of edie’s third annual Responsible Retail conference, taking place on 20 September 2018 at 99 City Road, London.

The full-day event has been designed for the retailers, sustainability professionals and key stakeholders that are looking for the information, insight and inspiration required to seize the sustainability opportunity.

Find out more about Responsible Retail 2018 and register to attend here.

Sarah George

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