Solar PV installation makes business sense – even without subsidies

With the completion of a 500kWp rooftop system for Natco Foods’ Buckingham processing hub, CleanEarth have again proved that solar PV installations can be economically viable without any help from government subsidies.

Reductions in the cost of solar PV equipment and efficient installation procedures now make it cost-competitive with conventional power generation – especially as energy costs continue to rise. The 1900 panels installed on Choithram House will also save over 3 thousand tonnes of CO2 during their 25 year lifetime as they generate 420,000kWh per year to power Natco’s business.

This demonstrates Natco Foods’ commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. As Managing Director, Luke Pagarani says: “We are heavy energy users and that makes us acutely aware of our responsibility to minimise our carbon impact and move to renewables. CleanEarth’s understanding of both the economics and the technical aspects meant they could deliver a system that delivers not just on our green agenda but to our bottom line too.”

With Feed in Tariffs no longer applicable and Western Power imposing constraints on power exported to the grid, it was crucial that the installation was sized so that the majority of the generated electricity would be consumed on-site. According to CleanEarth’s Operations Director, Tristan Grimes, “We did a detailed analysis of the site’s load profile and worked closely with the network operator to make sure export restrictions would be adhered to.”

The system was installed in just five weeks and with minimal disruption to Natco Foods’ day-to-day operations. “Because we handle all aspects of the project ourselves,” said Grimes, “our tight-knit team can react quickly to any issues that arise, which helps make sure everything gets delivered on schedule.”

This is the second system that CleanEarth have provided to Natco Foods, following a 180kWp system installed in 2016. As Luke Pagarani puts it: “If you’re going to invest in renewable energy on this scale, it’s essential to find the right parter. We were impressed with how CleanEarth tackled the previous installation and they brought the same technical know-how and can-do attitude to this project.”

CleanEarth have installed more than 500 solar PV systems and the Natco Foods project brings the company’s total of solar and wind generation capacity across the UK to over 50MW.

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