Articles

Solar Panels for a Low Carbon Future at St Stephen’s

By Tony van der Vliet
Deputy Centre Manager at St Stephen's

23 Jun 2016

Six months after completing the largest installation of solar photovoltaic panels at a UK shopping centre, we’re delighted that the panels are generating enough clean power to fulfil a third of all electricity demand in common areas at St Stephen’s, Hull.

More than 1,100 panels, covering 55,000 sq ft of roof space, were installed over a four-week period at the end of 2015. This was the culmination of several years of research and hard work. With technology changing so fast, it was a balancing act to make sure that we invested in the right product, at the right time and for the right price.

It has been a huge project and getting the panels installed was a major achievement. We’re now seeing the benefits – economically and environmentally. Not only are the panels set to generate a return on investment of 14% over 25 years and save 3,000 tonnes of carbon, they are also demonstrating our attitude to sustainability visually.

To put the savings into perspective, the 270,000 kWh of clean electricity generated each year could boil 1.8m kettles! This on-site energy generation is reducing our reliance on the National Grid and cutting annual electricity bills by around £30,000.

We were supported throughout the project by the centre’s owner British Land, who are always looking at innovative ways to cut carbon emissions, reduce energy costs and minimise environmental impacts.

Syzygy Renewables assessed the project feasibility and managed the whole installation for us, ensuring it was delivered on time and to budget. The company is now responsible for managing the panels.

The panels build on our award-winning efficiency programme at St Stephen’s, with other highlights including:

  • 40% reduction in landlord energy use since 2010, saving occupiers £383,100 and cutting carbon emissions by 2,470 tonnes – as much as annual emissions from 380 homes.
  • 1 million litres of water sourced through our rainwater harvesting system each year, saving Hull’s mains water and helping to cut urban flood risks by slowing rainwater run-off.
  • 15 tonnes of food waste recycled per year through an innovative food-to-water treatment plant on site.
  • 1st electric car charging points in the region introduced at St Stephen’s in 2011, free for visitors to use.

One thought on “Solar Panels for a Low Carbon Future at St Stephen’s”

Matt Webster, Head of Wellbeing and Futureproofing at British Land on June 23, 2016 at 4:58 pm said:

A big thank you to Tony for being the driving force behind this major project, which has been four years in the making and will deliver environmental and commercial benefits for many years to come. I’m delighted that Tony’s outstanding contribution was recognised in our 13th annual Awards for Excellence – well done and well deserved. It’s thanks to the amazing people who go above and beyond at our places that we’re seeing such strong progress on our 2020 sustainability strategy. Thank you!

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