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News » UK » Wolseley warehouse roof gets UK's largest solar installation » published 28 Mar 2014

Wolseley warehouse roof gets UK's largest solar installation

The UK’s largest array of solar photovoltaic panels has been installed on the roof of building materials group Wolseley UK’s national distribution centre in Leamington Spa.

A roof area of 13,113m² – roughly the size of two football pitches – has been covered in eight thousand JA Solar Polycrystalline panels, along with accompanying Fronius inverters, at Wolseley UK’s head office site.

The claim that this makes it the UK’s largest solar PV array comes from Mark Group, the company that installed it. The roof is now capable of generating enough electricity each year to supply around 450 homes.

The installation, carried out over a six-month period including preparation, is rated at just over 2MW and could generate £6.5m over 20 years under the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme for commercial buildings. Over a year the system should generate more energy than is consumed at Wolseley UK’s National Distribution Centre along with a surplus of around 10%, Mark Group said.

Chris Roberts, head of solar, Mark Group said: “The rise in energy prices and the levelling off of installation costs means that 2014 is a sweet spot for businesses installing solar PV.

“The government’s feed-in tariff continues to fall slowly, so now is the time to invest in solar to obtain the best payback.”

He added: “Wolseley’s investment in this installation should be completely repaid in around seven years, which means the [distribution centre] will receive free energy thereafter. Wolseley UK will also achieve carbon savings of around 1280 tonnes per year, helping to improve the Leamington Spa site’s environmental performance, which is already rated by BREEAM as ‘very good’”.

Wolseley UK managing director Steve Ashmore said: “As a business, we are committed to sustainable building. We opened the UK’s first commercial showcase for sustainable building products and construction methods, our Sustainable Building Center, in 2008. And we are continuing to lead the way by investing in the technology that we advocate.

“We are already seeing some fantastic environmental and cost savings from our PV installation and I hope that our success will inspire others to adopt green energy solutions, due to the significant results they can achieve.”

The installation incorporates several innovations, Mark Group said, including channelling some of the exhaust air from the inverters into the building’s heating systems to further reduce the building’s carbon emissions.



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This article was published on 28 Mar 2014 (last updated on 28 Mar 2014).

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