April 6, 2024

Retail Giants Install Rooftop Solar Panels

The retail behemoth, The Range, plans to deploy solar panels over 4.2 million square feet of warehouse rooftops at its Ashford location. Likewise, Swindon Borough Council has greenlit proposals by Orbital Retail Park to mount 5,000 solar panels on the roofs of its structures within the town.

Warehouses on The Range will hold solar panels

Home, garden, and leisure retailer, The Range, in collaboration with InRange, a managed marketplace for enterprise renewable energy procurement, is poised to revolutionize its energy infrastructure. Solar Power Portal reported on Friday.

The retail giant announced plans to install solar panels across 4.2 million square feet of warehouse roof space at its Ashford site. This strategic move aims to significantly reduce electricity costs while advancing the company's commitment to sustainability.

Through its partnership with InRange, The Range intends to deploy approximately 40MW of solar panels on warehouse rooftops. According to the company's statement, this initiative is projected to slash electricity bills across the portfolio by a minimum of 25%.

By leveraging the InRange network, The Range can not only optimize its energy usage but also sell surplus energy to large energy buyers, maximizing the value derived from every square foot of warehouse space.

Rooftop Solar Panels Covering Space Equivalent to 30,834 Football Fields

Alex Simpkin, CEO of The Range, expressed enthusiasm about the company's journey toward becoming a net-zero business. He emphasised the pivotal role of the partnership with InRange in accelerating its sustainability efforts, leading to immediate benefits for the business and the local communities it serves.

Warehouses are emerging as key players in the UK's decarbonization efforts. Research conducted by construction analyst Barbour ABI underscores the vast potential of warehouses in supporting renewable energy goals.

With an estimated warehouse roof space exceeding 165 million square meters, equivalent to 30,834 football fields, there's a significant opportunity to harness solar energy. Barbour ABI's AMA Research team suggests that warehouses could accommodate up to 25GWp of new rooftop solar capacity, contributing substantially to the nation's renewable energy targets.

Orbital Retail Park Goes Solar with 5,000 Solar Panels

In a similar move, Swindon Borough Council has given the green light to plans proposed by Orbital Retail Park to install 5,000 solar panels atop its buildings in the town. The initiative aims to significantly contribute to the site's transition to net zero emissions.

According to a report from BBC, The retail park submitted its request for the installation of solar panels in February, highlighting the substantial impact it would have on achieving sustainability goals. With the council's approval, the project is set to meet 56% of the retail park's energy needs through renewable sources.

Orbital Retail Park emphasized the importance of securing a local, renewable energy source, particularly amidst the current spike in energy prices. They also assured that the installation would be non-visually intrusive, a point endorsed by the local council, which underscored the minimal effect on the building's appearance in its report.

Tenants Purchase Electricity Generated by the Solar Panels

Local reports reveal that tenants at the shopping centre will purchase electricity generated by the panels, with any surplus being sold to the National Grid. This collaboration signifies the continued growth of the UK solar sector and its integration with national energy infrastructure, exemplified by recent projects like the 50MW solar project owned by Cero Generation and Enso Energy.

The approval of Orbital Retail Park's solar panel installation follows the announcement of the Great North Road Solar Park, a massive 1GW solar project in Nottinghamshire, poised to become the UK's largest and nationally significant infrastructure project. Drax's data indicates a remarkable increase in solar panel installations in Britain, reflecting the country's commitment to renewable energy.

In a further demonstration of Swindon Borough Council's dedication to sustainability, last month saw plans unveiled for a £2.31 million investment in 600 electric vehicle (EV) charging points across the town. Chris Watts, the council's cabinet member for the environment and transport, emphasized the council's mission to achieve net zero emissions through such initiatives.

The installation of rooftop solar panels by The Range and Swindon Borough Council represents a significant step towards UK sustainability goals. These initiatives showcase a commitment to renewable energy and underscore the importance of businesses and local governments in advancing environmental objectives.

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