England isn't known for its sunny climate, but nevertheless it is possible to generate energy from the sun's power. The UK's largest solar rooftop array will go live today on a warehouse in Suffolk in South East England. The 7000 solar panels installed have a capacity of 1.65MW and cover the area of a two and a half soccer pitches. The warehouse, for plastic packaging manufacturer Promens, will be nearly 100% powered by its own solar array, making it far greener than other facilities relying on grid-delivered electricity derived from many sources, including very polluting ones like coal.
The finance for the development came from many small investors in a fund managed by Octopus Investments, and the installation was constructed by Gropotec and is managed by Lightsource Renewable Energy. As the UK government has recently changed the criteria for renewable investment, starting in August, it looks likely that this project will be the largest roof-top installation in the UK for the foreseeable future.
Nicholas Boyle, CEO of Lightsource said, "This roof-top solar plant highlights the important role solar generation has to play in our future energy mix, particularly when the energy it produces is used at source removing the need for wasteful distribution networks. Getting this site online before the August deadline was a considerable achievement and it is a real credit to Grupotec, for their speed and coordination during design and construction, and to Promens as a company for their commitment to the project and a willingness to do what was needed to get it completed."
Paul Latham, Managing Director of Octopus added, "The Promens installation isn't just a great achievement in its own right, but also a validation that Octopus can deliver to its investors what we said we would. Given the tight deadline set by the Government, we were one of very few investment houses able to provide funding for solar projects such as this one. The successful delivery of projects such as this one will only strengthen the demand for solar installations in the UK."
The total investment cost £4 million ($6.5 million) and is one of a number of projects being developed in the UK by Lightsource.