Marks & Spencer has completed installation at its Castle Donington distribution centre of what it claims is the UK’s largest single roof mounted solar panel system, with the ability to generate power for 1,190 houses per year.
The 24,272 panels span the centre’s 900,000 sq ft roof, and will generate 5,000 MWh of electricity per year. In total, this will account for 25 per cent of the energy required to run the fully automated DC. M&S expect the system to reduce its carbon footprint by 48,000 tonnes over a 20-year period.
The firm says it goes towards maintaining its commitment of sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity for UK and Ireland buildings from renewable sources, with 50 per cent sourced from small scale renewable sources by 2020.
Hugo Adams, director of property at M&S, said: “The completion of this project is the first significant step in a number of solar energy initiatives we are planning this year. The scale of the project demonstrates our ambitious goals and long term commitment to onsite renewable energy.”
M&S has agreed a power purchase agreement with infrastructure specialist Amber Infrastructure, which will be supplying and maintaining the 6.1MWp solar panel array, having now completed its installation. The agreement runs for 20 years, with commitment from M&S to purchase all the electricity generated by the solar panels.
Amber Rudd, minister for energy and climate change, said: “There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations – and this is a great example of how businesses can reap the benefits.
“More rooftop solar means more jobs – and will also help deliver the clean, reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”