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How to save UK businesses billions

Using just 5% of commercial rooftop space will save UK businesses billions.

Britain has 2,500 hectares of south-facing roof space, which, covered in solar panels, could save £12.6 billion per year in energy costs. And this represents just 5% of the available UK commercial rooftop space.

industrial solar rooftop

The staggering finding comes from PowerMarket, and follows hard on the heels of a study by the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA), which identified 18,500 acres of unused roof space on British warehouses.

At a time when the nation’s focus has been on both the development of home-generated renewable energy, and the cost of living, the potential of solar is clearly an issue which merits support.

Furthermore, when solar panels form an integral part of microgrids, the whole landscape of energy provision can evolve, to take the strain off the national grid and help the UK meet its net zero targets.

PowerMarket’s Solar Feasibility Study claims that roof space above offices, warehouses, data centres, science parks and other buildings could be “hidden cash cows”, as well as significantly contributing to the reduction of energy costs, and helping the UK to gain energy independence.

The study notes that within the 30 leading Science Parks in the UK, only 5.4% of the suitable roof space had installed solar. PowerMarket estimates that the start-ups which move into such science parks are missing out on more than £65 million of annual energy cost savings.Aerial View of Shopping Center with Solar Panels and Parking Lot

The recent turbulence in UK government did bring energy plans to a head, and a policy emerged against using ground-mounted solar panels on agricultural land.

By mounting solar panels on the vast areas of available roof space, this could compensate for any reduction in planned solar infrastructure on ground level.

PowerMarket also claims that utilising the 2,500 hectares of south-facing roof space would save more than 12Mt of CO2 emissions each year.

The UK is on course to double its solar capacity by 2030 – but it will need to treble it if the country is to meet its net zero target for 2050.


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