Opportunity knocks for commercial rooftop solar

UK companies could save more than £5bn a year in electricity bills by installing fully-funded rooftop solar PV systems on commercial rooftop space.

That’s according to a new study from Kingspan Energy, which reveals that installing solar PV on just 61% of the nation’s 2.500km2 south-facing commercial roof space would meet the total electricity demand of UK companies.

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The research, carried out using Government statistics and performance data from existing UK PV installations, suggests that the average British business with a half-hourly meter could save up to £31,147 on yearly electricity bills – a saving equal to 12.97% of the UK’s annual corporation tax bill.

Kingspan Insulated Panels managing director Gilbert McCarthy said: “The economic case for solar PV is clear, especially with the removal of the capital cost barrier from the equation. The immediate savings produced by adopting commercial rooftop PV can only increase the competitiveness of UK businesses. When you consider the increased savings over time compared with the grid, the opportunity becomes even more compelling.”

Business benefits

The research was released to coincide with the launch of the UK’s largest rooftop solar renovation project at Kingspan Insulation’s manufacturing plant in Selby, North Yorkshire.

As well as receiving 2.5MWp PV installation, the plant will receive a replacement energy-efficient, insulated roof and an upgraded LED lighting system. The expected savings from the improvements are 79.2GWh in energy, £5.2m in cost and 34,895 tonnes in emissions over the next 25 years.

Speaking at the launch of the solar renovation project, the recently-appointed Minister for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said: “Our solar strategy sets out our ambition for the growth of solar on roofs and Brownfield sites and, as Kingspan has identified in its own research, the benefits from solar to business are huge.

“Their rooftop array – one of the largest in the UK – shows how companies can benefit, by cutting costs and reducing emissions.”

The findings follow the recent suggestion by the NPD that global solar photovoltaic (PV) installations set up during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2014 should exceed 19.5GW, pushing the combined international PV operation towards the 200GW.

Lois Vallely

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