How we’ve saved £80,000 by investing in solar
20th October 2022
Here at Drax, we like to practice what we preach - enabling a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. Our recent successes in solar power are doing just that.
We’ve saved money and carbon emissions, whilst contributing to a greener electricity grid by installing solar on the rooftop of our Northampton office. And you could, too.
In 2019, we set ourselves a target: to improve our energy efficiency, reduce our reliance on the grid and boost our own sustainability credentials.
We wanted to make sure that the energy we used was cleaner, so that we could reduce carbon emissions across our operations.
And like all business decisions, we had to prove that any sustainability measures we invested in made good financial sense. That meant they had to be cost effective and deliver a good return on investment (ROI).
Our Electric Assets team kickstarted the process with an energy audit. By delving into our office's consumption data, conducting an on-site survey, and pulling together reports, they identified an opportunity to produce zero carbon electricity on site.
Working with our Renewables Purchasing team, in March 2019 we installed almost 700 solar panels covering over 1,100m2 of our office rooftop.
Generating our own 100% renewable solar electricity onsite would reduce the volume of energy we’d need to import from the grid. It’d also save money, while reducing our carbon footprint too.
Since installation in 2019, the solar array has generated over 660MWh of 100% renewable source electricity – that’s over 14% of our total energy use. Generation peaks during the summer months when we experience the most hours of UK sunshine.
Thanks to this renewable energy that’s generated on site, we’ve been able to reduce the total volume of energy we’ve had to import from the grid.
In total, over 97% of the solar energy is used on site, with as little as 6MWh exported a year. The 3% we do export is typically over the weekends, when our office is closed.
As a result, we’ve reduced our CO2 emissions by 168.49 tonnes. That’s the same as burning 268 tonnes of coal, or the equivalent of planting over 7,960 trees.
The system is accredited for REGOs too, meaning we’re able to claim Renewable Guarantee of Origin certificates. We receive one certificate for every 1mWh we generate, and we use these to offset against our energy supply customers.
Was it worth the investment?
Three years since installation and we’ve saved over £80,000 on energy costs by reducing the volume of power we need to import from the grid.
We’ve saved on our energy import costs but generating renewable electricity can also become a revenue stream for your organisation if you don’t need to use all the energy you generate on site. Through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), you can export excess power back to the grid - earning a pence/kWh rate.
When it comes to ROI, we’re on track for a full return on investment by 2025, just six years after installation.
Could you benefit from solar power?
If you can balance the upfront cost and the potential returns, investing in renewable generation makes sense.
We have a long history in supporting independent renewable power generators in the UK and we support more than 2,100 renewable generators. Of these, over 1,200 are solar generators, a total capacity of nearly 260MW.
To understand how you can use your own generating capacity to save on money and carbon get in touch today.Get in touch