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Big is best: Promens, Beccles is the UK’s largest roof-top solar installation

Just one year after over 7,000 solar panels were installed on the roof of Promens Packaging’s plant in Beccles, Suffolk, the scheme has now generated over 1,000,000 kWh (1 GWh) of green electricity.

Lightsource Renewable Energy is the company behind the installation and operation of the scheme leasing the roof space from Promens and installing the PV panels free of charge. In return, Promens has benefitted from substantial savings on its energy costs because it has been able to run a significant part of its operations on the much cheaper ‘green’ electricity it buys from Lightsource.

Adrian Banks, engineering manager at Promens Packaging, Beccles said: “From July 2011 to the end of June this year we have generated 1.2 GWh, utilised 970 MWh, exported to the grid the remaining 191 MWh and in the process saving us over £50,000.00 on our electricity bill. These are clearly significant figures and we would expect the benefit to increase further over the next 12 months, especially with energy tariffs going up.”

Promens has also been experiencing further benefits from housingBritain’s largest roof top PV scheme.Adrianadded: “I think it has put out a very positive message to our staff and customers alike. It’s difficult to say if business has been won as a direct consequence, but our Greener credentials certainly impress when customers visit our site and see our aerial photos. As a company, one of our key values is to have the courage to challenge conventional wisdom and react quickly to new technologies and opportunities. So, when Lightsource first approached us in March 2011, we adopted the idea of the solar installation very quickly – a decision that we’re very pleased we made.”

Nick Boyle, ceo of Lightsource, said: “It’s remarkable what can be achieved in such a short time and we’re proud to have made a significant difference in reducing energy bills. Promens is a prime example of how commercial property owners and high electricity users can benefit from leasing otherwise unutilised roof or ground space to us with no expenditure and no adverse impact on existing business activity. Once an organisation enters into an RPI index-linked Power Purchase Agreement with us, they will enjoy not only significant reductions in their energy bills but far greater pricing certainty for the future.”

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