Bentley Motors has taken another step towards going green by installing the UK’s largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array on top of their factory in Crewe.
The 5MWp installation owned by UK company Lightsource Renewable Energy includes 20,000 PV panels and cost £7m. Instead of paying Bentley to rent the roof, the company provide the car maker with cheaper electricity than their current provider, with price increases only indexed to inflation over the next 25 years.
When operating at peak levels the panels will produce up to 40% of Bentley’s power requirement. The system will also have a two way connection so that during the summer, weekends and shutdown periods any excess energy they generate can be fed back into the National Grid.
The array will generate enough energy to power over 1,200 households and is three times more powerful than the current largest roof mounted system in the UK.
“Our 1940s plant is ideally situated to generate solar power as the ‘saw tooth’ 3.45 hectare factory roof faces south at an angle of 20 degrees,” said Michael Straughan, the member of Bentley’s board responsible for manufacturing.
“The panels will reduce our energy costs and help ensure that our manufacturing operations in Crewe are efficient, sustainable and globally competitive.”
Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource, said: “This deal has an element of win-win. We have a captive audience that buys the electricity we produce and from Bentley’s perspective, apart from all the green kudos, they can get a significant portion of their energy for a cheaper rate set over the next 25 years.”
“The boring predictability of solar is its greatest strength. Our installations have no down time and no moving parts – all we have to do is wipe the panels every six months and they will keep producing power.”
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