UK businesses are missing out on as much as £12 billion in annual energy savings by failing to have facilities assessed to see if solar panels could be installed on rooftops, a new study has revealed.
Analysis by solar data providers PowerMarket in their Solar Feasibility study examined the 30 largest science parks in the UK which are home to hundreds of small star-us, research hubs and facilities.
Their research found that these science parks could save around £65m a years on energy costs by making just 5% of the suitable roof space available for solar installations.
The study claims that if this was replicated across just 5% of the UK’s commercial properties – estimated to be 2,500 hectares of south-facing roof space – businesses would collectively save around £12.6bn annually on energy costs.
In addition, the carbon savings would combine to more than 12Mt of CO2 annually, based on the 53 kilo tonnes of carbon emissions that could be saved at the analysed science parks.
Now PowerMarket is calling on businesses to evaluate their rooftop space to see if energy cost savings could be achieved.
2021 was heralded as “potentially the most significant year to date” for the UK’s solar industry, adding 730MW of new capacity, an increase of 36% compared to 2020, figures from Solar Energy UK show.
According to the body, 369MW installed in 2021 was rooftop solar, the highest total since 2015 when 839MW of capacity was installed at a time when “significant” subsidies were available to switch to solar.
In total, solar PV capacity in the UK now sits at 14.6GW, up 5.3% compared to 2020 levels. Solar Energy UK notes that all three solar markets – residential rooftop, commercial scale and ground-mount – are seeing stable growth without the assistance of subsidies.
The UK is on course to double its solar capacity by 2030 but needs to treble it if it is to meet its net-zero target for 2050.