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Could your business produce energy to reduce costs?

Could your business produce energy to reduce costs?

9 January 2014

With winter on our doorsteps many business owners are concerned about their energy costs. Reducing bills requires transforming the way you use energy (See Green Mark Newsletter 2013). However, have you thought about producing your own energy to reduce costs?

Onsite small-scale renewable and low carbon technologies will play an important part in future energy supply. Solar PV technology, in particular, has attracted interest from a large number of local authorities, communities, businesses and households in the UK. Businesses that have the capacity to generate their own energy can make considerable savings in costs and carbon.

Island House save over £2,296 a year after installing Solar PV panels

The Island House community centre, based in London’s Isle of Dogs, is a great example of a conscientious company that’s striving to achieve the very best environmental standards with limited resources. Through continuous environmentally focussed improvements and encouraging environmental responsibility amongst staff, the Island House team is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its activities.

Over the last five years, the centre has set annual goals to improve its environmental performance. This has included reducing both running costs and the impact of the centre’s activities on the environment. Their goal for 2012 was to produce their own energy.

A large roof with a slope and sunlight were everything that Island House needed in October 2012 to install 40 Solar PV Panels. This was equivalent to 65m2 of active PV area, making a 10kWp system. The total cost for Island House’s Solar PV panel system was £26,198. This included a structural survey, the cost of the panels, installation costs and a display panel fitted in the reception area so that employees and users of the centre can see the actual amount of energy generated every minute. After 12 months, the system had produced 8,500 kWh (99% of what was estimated by the installer). The actual savings for Island House for the first year are £2,296. This is made up of £ 1,438 FITs (i.e. 14.5 p/kWh) plus £858 electricity savings.

Island House’s solar panel system is capable of earning energy over 20 years. The cost of the system will be paid off in less than 15 years, even as the overall performance of the system decreases.

Impacts of Solar PV technology

Solar PV technology has environmental, economic and social benefits

The economic benefits of Solar PV technology

  • Save on electricity bills
  • An ethical, green community investment vehicle; funding for the Solar PV project can be raised through a community share offer and the participants can receive a return on their investment
  • Get a return on your capital investment
  • Create local business & employment opportunities (e.g. electricians, panel installers)
  • Stimulate the supply side through public sector procurement (e.g. Solar PV installations on the roof of public buildings)
  • Encourage innovation in the UK by adapting technology to local conditions

The environmental benefits of Solar PV technology

  • Reduce CO2 emissions by using a renewable source of energy
  • Reduce the use of fossil fuels and their impact on climate change
  • Address fuel poverty
  • Minimise energy lost during transmission from its source, provide higher flexibility to respond to local energy demands
  • Reduce your dependence on the national grid
  • Raise awareness about energy efficiency issues and goals

The social benefits of Solar PV technology

  • Community cohesion enhancement e.g. partnership working on community-led projects
  • Create local training and employment opportunities

About Green Mark

Green Mark is an environmental certification scheme which helps organisations to:

  • Manage their environmental impacts
  • Save money and resources
  • Evidence a commitment to sustainability

GLE is currently providing free Green Mark certifications to ESF funded organisations, as part of the ESF Technical Assistance programme. This support is available for organisations who hold an ESF contract directly, and those who participate as a formal partner.

For more information about how Green Mark can help your organisation contact greenmark@carbonarchitecture.co.uk or telephone 02036 971253.

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