Last year, the Government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced that a third of the UK’s FTSE100 companies have committed to reduce their carbon emissions and reach net zero by 2050. Since then, corporate energy bills have risen dramatically, leading many companies to accelerate their search for clean and affordable energy sources.
Solar is the solution needed to address climate change and skyrocketing gas prices. The technology provides low-cost, low-carbon electricity to meet the UK’s power needs whilst developing self-sufficiency. It is the fastest zero carbon technology to deploy and can contribute to reducing dependence on gas at a corporate and national level.
Subsequently, the last six months have seen an upsurge in demand for onsite solar generation, which is now an investment that can pay back in less than five years.
Solar Energy UK (SEUK), the UK’s leading trade body for the solar and storage industry, is responding by offering guidance on the development of onsite solar systems, a proven way for businesses to reduce their costs and lower carbon emissions.
Alongside Conrad Energy, Segen and SolarEdge, Solar Energy UK has produced this accessible guide to facilitate procurement for businesses who want to improve their financial and environmental performance.
SEUK’s ‘Corporate Buyers’ Guide’ explains how solar systems work, the key steps needed to set up a solar project, and the commercial considerations that corporate buyers need to think about. The document also includes a directory of members who design, install, finance and manage high quality onsite solar projects.
Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of Solar Energy UK, said: ”As corporate energy bills soar, more and more companies are looking to deploy solar on their buildings and car parks to secure cheap, clean power for the long term. In uncertain times, the potential for rolling out commercial rooftop solar is immense and can have a major impact on national energy security.”
Christelle Barnes, UK Country Manager for SolarEdge, stated: “SolarEdge is proud to collaborate with Solar Energy UK on its 2022 Corporate Buyers’ Guide. Solar is a cost-effective and flexible solution that allows businesses of all sizes to benefit from clean, low-cost renewable energy, while at the same time reducing their carbon footprint.
“The guide provides straightforward, practical advice on every stage of developing a solar project – from design and planning through to procurement and installation. As such, it is a must-read for any business that is serious about reducing its energy costs and improving the environmental performance of its operations.”
Liz MacFarlane, Director at Segen, added: “Now is the time for businesses to take decisive action and address rocketing energy prices and their climate change responsibilities by installing solar and other energy-saving measures. The time for sitting on the fence has passed. In many respects solar has never been more accessible and yet I understand how it can seem like a bit of a minefield initially.
“Segen is proud to have supported Solar Energy UK in developing this guide which should help navigate some of the perceived hurdles and enable much wider deployment of solar PV and energy storage across UK businesses, at a time when it has never been needed more.”
Mark Kelly, Head of Power Solutions, Conrad Energy said: “These are exciting times for post-subsidy solar PV. The opportunity for commercial and industrial businesses to reduce carbon emissions and energy spend without needing to invest their own capital is huge – indeed it’s rare for a single solution to address so many problems so effectively, so this buyer’s guide serves as a great tool to demystify the deployment of solar PV, encourage further roll-out and help the UK on its way to net zero by 2050.”
2021 saw record deployment for commercial solar power projects across the UK. In future years, as the UK faces a deepening global energy crisis and pressure to address climate change, deployment will need to be rapidly scaled up to meet corporate energy needs.
Now more than ever, is the time for businesses to transition to renewables and include solar in their energy mix to hedge against rising gas prices and the threat of climate change.
The UK Government has shown their support in helping businesses decarbonise their operations by exempting onsite solar panels, battery storage, and other eligible renewable technologies from business rates.
Solar Energy UK estimates that the UK could deploy around 7GW of commercial-scale solar power by 2030. This is approximately double the generation capacity of the planned nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, showing just how much solar potential there is in the UK on business premises alone.