SmartGrid innovator SNRG has unlocked the potential to cover vast acres of the UK’s commercial roofspace with solar panels, through a unique partnership between business, landlord and renewable energy provider.
Greencore Homes, the UK’s leading Climate Positive housebuilder, and its factory’s landlord, LondonMetric Property, have teamed up with SNRG in the first such partnership.
It will see SNRG design, install, operate and fund a £400,000 SmartGrid renewable energy system at Greencore’s factory in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
As 55% of commercial property (by value) in the UK is rented, it can be legally complex for businesses to install solar onto roofs.
SNRG manages the legal and commercial agreements which guarantee a significant income stream for landlords, while at the same time generating crucial energy savings for business tenants.
The Greencore deal is a blueprint for accelerating the expansion of rooftop solar on commercial buildings, in partnership with landlords, to help businesses meet net zero targets and reduce energy costs.
A recent report by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) revealed that warehouses alone cover 18,500 acres of land and have the combined roof space to generate 15GW of new solar power.
The SNRG SmartGrid is a place-based power system utilising solar PV panels, battery storage and intelligent energy optimisation, to maximise the consumption of cheap, onsite renewable generation and minimise the import of expensive and carbon-intensive grid electricity.
The Greencore Homes SmartGrid will include a 726-panel, 302kWp rooftop solar array and a 100kW/ 200kWh battery storage system. This solution will reduce Greencore’s electricity bills by an estimated 18% and aims to avoid 39 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2024 alone.
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SNRG is uniquely able to overcome three key challenges facing businesses seeking to incorporate solar.
As well as overcoming the leasing issue, SNRG solves the problem of meeting the high upfront cost of a renewable energy system, by funding the SmartGrid itself.
SNRG is financially backed by Centrica, the UK’s largest energy supplier, and Antin Infrastructure Partners, with EUR30.6bn under management.
Another common obstacle is local grid constraints, with many all-electric developments across the UK facing severe delays because the infrastructure requires upgrading.
Greencore was faced with using just half of its roof space with a conventional solar system, because the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) had placed an export limit of 137kW on its existing connection.
The SNRG SmartGrid uses advanced active import and export controls and a hybrid solar inverter, which enables SNRG to cover Greencore’s entire roof with 302kWp of solar panels and add a 100kW/ 200kWh battery energy storage system.
All this can happen without the need for Greencore to pay the DNO for costly grid reinforcement works.
Henry Leivers, Chief Operating Officer at SNRG, says: “We’re excited to partner with Greencore and LondonMetric, who are aligned with our core mission of accelerating the all-electric, net-zero transition.
“There are hundreds of thousands of UK businesses leasing commercial buildings that are locked out of the financial and environmental benefits of rooftop solar.
“This SNRG project demonstrates that by intelligently designing, funding and orchestrating renewable energy assets onsite, landlords and tenants can benefit from SNRG SmartGrids today.”
Ian Pritchett, Greencore Co-Founder, Growth and Innovation Director, explains: “Producing our own renewable energy is absolutely aligned with our ethos as a company and what we want to be doing.
“We put solar PV on all of our houses, which are designed to be net zero energy in-use, so it makes perfect sense that we should try and get as close to that for our office and factory as well.
“We were so impressed by the creativity of the SNRG model.”
LondonMetric owns the Greencore factory building as part of its £3bn portfolio of logistics and grocery-led long income assets, covering 17 million sq ft.
Sam Pringle, Asset Manager, says: “LondonMetric is increasingly engaging with its occupiers to help them deliver on their net zero carbon targets.
“’The SmartGrid system offered by SNRG is an innovative solution that is attractive to both landlord and occupier.
“Greencore and SNRG are valued partners, and we look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration and where we might be able to replicate its successes.”
The installation will be completed by the end of the year.
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- Mark Campbell