Marks & Spencers in Castle Donington recently built the UK’s largest solar panel network in an attempt to source half of the company’s energy from renewables. The staggering 24,000 PV panels will provide enough energy to power Marks & Spencer’s entire distribution centre for online sales.
The installation of PV solar panels for businesses is very efficient because energy is used at the time it is generated. In other words, businesses that operate during the day can use electricity generated on their own rooftops to massively reduce their overall energy requirements and costs.
Businesses are Seeing a Healthy Return on Investment in Solar Panels
Let’s be honest, big businesses and large supermarket chains don’t have the best reputation for putting the environment ahead of financial concerns. That being said, you might be surprised to learn while Marks & Spencers’ Castle Donington project is the largest solar panel network in the UK, Tesco takes second place and Sainsbury’s has the largest number of rooftop solar panels in Europe. Sainsbury’s currently has solar panels installed at 170,000 stores and offices.
It would be nice to think that Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencers were investing in solar because they are concerned about the environmental impact of fossil fuels, but you don’t come to dominate your marketplace like they have unless you put profit first. Big businesses are investing in solar panels because it makes excellent financial sense to invest now in order to reduce running costs dramatically later on down the line.
They are also well aware of the fact that the price of energy is likely to continue rising. A sudden hike could be disastrous for businesses that haven’t protected themselves by investing in renewables. For businesses, the idea that renewable energy might just save the planet is simply an added bonus.
Not only that, but using otherwise unproductive rooftop space to generate electricity is a smart way to maximise the profit-making potential of every inch of your building. The only major barrier to more widespread installation of solar panels is not installation costs, as these are quickly weighed out by a good return on investment, but the fact that many commercial businesses don’t own their own buildings.
Consumers and governments alike are increasingly judging businesses on their green credentials
There’s also a growing demand among a number of consumers that the companies that they do business with are environmentally friendly. Just as the ethical concerns have had an impact on the sales of factory-farmed eggs and dolphin-friendly tuna, smart businesses know that having a good reputation for environmental practises will continue to be important for customer loyalty. As well as consumers, governments are increasingly expecting businesses to meet certain environmental requirements.
Maximising the productivity of our businesses’ rooftops is plainly the way that Britain and British businesses alike can get the most from renewable energy. It will bring long term benefits to the country and to the planet too.
Do you own the roof of your own business? Why not find out what has got Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencers going green and ask us for an estimate for your return on investment with solar panels.
Photo Credit: pieter.morlion