Landsec hints at energy storage to bolster Britain’s biggest shopping centre solar array
The UK's largest commercial property developer, Landsec, has revealed that it is sourcing 22% less grid electricity for its White Rose shopping centre in Leeds after installing a 2,902-panel solar array on the roof.
Providing an update on the giant rooftop array, which was made live last August, Landsec revealed that it was able to generate enough renewable energy to power all of the shopping centre’s serviced areas for two weeks this summer.
The developer is now passing the cost savings from the solar array on to its tenants, in the form of a reduction in the utilities service charge at the centre.
Following these results, Landsec hinted that energy storage options could be used to complement the array. Landsec currently has to sell surplus power generated by the photovoltaic (PV) system back to the grid.
Landsec said in a statement that anticipated advancements in battery technology “could soon see retail sites generating and storing enough energy in the summer months to service much of their energy needs throughout the rest of the year”.
“The success of the solar PV system at White Rose is a case in point of the top-to-bottom benefits that the entire sector can enjoy when sustainability is embedded in retail,” Landsec’s sustainability manager Tom Byrne said.
“As battery technology improves and costs of renewable energy storage fall, the economy of scale for renewables and the level of savings that can be passed on to retailers is vast.”
Landsec previously discussed the role of energy storage in increasing its energy resilience in an edie webinar, available to watch on demand.
The update from Landsec comes shortly after research from the Carbon Trust found that a 20% cut in energy costs for retailers can represent the same bottom-line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.
The White Rose installation is currently the biggest PV system at a retail site in the UK – more than double the size of the system recently installed on top of the Serpentine Green Regional retail centre by rival property company British Land.
Since it was made live 12 months ago, the White Rose array is estimated to have generated 680MWh of power and reduced carbon emissions by 250 tonnes – the equivalent of more than 500,000 miles of car emissions.
The solar array is the ninth to have been installed across the Landsec estate as the company strives towards its science-based target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. The company has powered its estate with 100% renewable energy since 2016,
Since the White Rose array came online, Landsec has also unveiled a 184-panel PV array on its Trinity Leeds mall. The installation is expected to provide the shopping centre with 42MWh of energy every year, representing a 19-tonne reduction in the development’s carbon footprint in the first year.
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