M&S completes UK's largest rooftop solar project, more on horizon
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has completed the installation of the UK's largest single-roof-mounted solar panel array at its East Midlands distribution centre.
The 24,272 PV panel system, which covers the site's 900,000sq.ft roof, will generate over 5,000MWh of electricity per year - the equivalent amount of energy to power 1,190 homes.
The energy generated will provide nearly 25% of the energy required for the fully automated distribution centre in Castle Donington, and will lower M&S's carbon footprint by 48,000 tonnes over 20 years.
With the final panel now laid and the system fully commissioned, M&S's director of property Hugo Adams said: "The completion of this project is hugely exciting for everyone at M&S. It is the first significant step in a number of solar energy initiatives we are planning this year. The scale of the project demonstrates our ambitious goals and long term commitment to onsite renewable energy."
Minister for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd added: "There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations - and this is a great example of how businesses can reap the benefits. More rooftop solar means more jobs - and will also help deliver the clean, reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers."
M&S has agreed a Power Purchase Agreement with infrastructure specialist Amber Infrastructure, which has funded, supplied and installed the 6.1MWp solar panel array. The agreement runs for 20 years, with commitment from M&S to purchase all the electricity generated by the solar panels.
The PV array will help M&S maintain its commitment of sourcing 100% of its electricity for UK and Ireland buildings from renewable sources, with 50% sourced from small-scale renewable sources by 2020. The project is the first of a number of onsite renewable initiatives set to be rolled out this year by M&S, and is another step on the retailer's carbon reduction journey.
Since the launch of Plan A in 2007, M&S has lowered its carbon emissions by 37% and is carbon neutral across its worldwide operations.
M&S at Sustainability Live 2015
M&S’s head of energy supply and risk, Gio Patellaro, is among the expert speakers that will feature at the brand new Conference within Sustainability Live 2015 in April. In a session titled ‘energy – the bottom line: use less, make your own, buy smarter’, Patellaro will address the best route to energy cost reduction for businesses.