Growth in onsite generation projects accelerating

British manufacturers have now invested in almost 200 onsite renewable energy projects to cut costs, improve security of supply and reduce carbon footprint, according to new figures.

The latest Energy Entrepreneurs Report compiled by SmartestEnergy shows there has been a 47% increase in the number of commercial scale renewable projects in operation across the manufacturing sector in Great Britain since last year’s report.

Energy Entrepreneurs Report 2015 compiled by SmartestEnergy.
Energy Entrepreneurs Report 2015 compiled by SmartestEnergy.

An estimated £10.5m has been invested in 64 new projects since the 2013 report, taking the total invested in recent years up to £182.4m.

The 199 sites of 50kW capacity or more now in operation across the manufacturing sector can potentially generate £80.1m worth of electricity a year – enough to power over 426,000 homes.

The combined 394.5 megawatts (MW) of capacity represents a 9.9% increase on 2013’s figure.

Average spend on onsite generation projects now stands at £441,000.

The most popular technology deployed continues to be solar photovoltaics which accounted for 50 of the new projects with the remainder using onshore wind, anaerobic digestion and biomass.

The latest Energy Entrepreneurs Report reveals continued strong growth in onsite renewables across business sectors as companies look to mitigate rising energy costs, ensure security of supply and meet sustainability aspirations.

In total 176 new projects were commissioned during the year, a 12.8% increase on 2013 with total investment of £16.9m.

There are now 572 commercial-scale onsite projects in operation, generating electricity worth around £10m a year for businesses at current prices.

Head of Generation Sales for SmartestEnergy, Iain Robertson said the report highlighted the changing approach to energy being taken by many businesses.

He commented: “Volatile energy prices, concerns over security of supply and environmental concerns are seeing a continued appetite among businesses for investing in their own generation.

“These projects can deliver significant savings in energy costs, ensure continuity of supplies and also provide a new income stream from energy generated over and above the needs of the business.

“Consumers are also increasingly interested in the sustainability of companies whose products they buy and investing in renewable energy can be used to highlight environmental credentials.”