While UK companies continue to expand and evolve, many are taking the steps to sustainability by adopting solar power and other renewable energy sources. In this article we will explore 10 UK brands that have decided to invest in renewable, low carbon projects using the power of solar.
1. Associated British Ports (ABP)
- This huge solar project cost ABP £6.8 million to complete.
- The panel array consists of 21,000 panels, big enough to power 1,570 homes for an entire year.
- The system, which will produce 6.5MW of energy, will save 2,600 tonnes of CO2 per year – this equates to the energy needs of 1,450 average UK homes.
- A project of this scale not only works to reduce carbon emissions, but considerable financial savings for the company.
2. Marks & Spencer (M&S)
In 2014, M&S announced their plan to install the UK’s largest single roof mounted solar panel array. Completed in 2015, the PV array sits on top of M&S’s East Midlands distribution centre in Castle Donnington.
- It was the Amber Infrastructure Group who supplied and installed the solar panel system.
- The solar panels span a distance of 900,000 sq. ft.
- Generating over 5,000 Mwh of electricity per year, the installation can produce enough energy to power 1,190 houses.
- The panel array consists of 24,272 units. Expected to lower M&S’s carbon footprint by 48,000 tonnes over the next 20 years.
- Castle Donnington is now considered to be one of the most sustainable distribution centres in the world.
- M&S also launched an innovative share offer, which invited customers to invest in solar panels at eight of its retail stores across the UK.
Supermarket giant Tesco has signed a sustainability deal that will see 15,000 solar panels installed on 17 of its stores. The company’s goal is to hit net zero carbon in the UK by 2035.
- In line with its eco-friendly pledge, Tesco has installed free-to-use EV chargers at 100 of its supermarkets across the UK in 2020.
- The company’s recent new partnership with Low Carbon (a renewable energy investor) has helped create three new solar farms in the UK .
- The three solar farms based in Essex, Anglesey and Oxfordshire will generate up to 130 GwH of energy per year. Enough to power 44,828 three-bedroom homes.
- Any surplus power will fed the National Grid, helping the UK lower its total carbon footprint.
- This retailer’s commitment to use 100% renewable electricity by 2020 will save over 30,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent of taking 14,457 cars off the road.
The biggest part of Apple’s carbon footprint comes from the electricity used to produce its products, such as mobile phones, earphones and laptops. In 2015, Apple UK introduced its Supplier Clean Energy Programme, which has helped its manufacturing suppliers’ transition to renewable electricity generated from solar and wind.
- Currently, Apple is carbon neutral.
- By 2030, all Apple products will be made with 100% clean energy including solar.
- Since switching to renewables in 2015, Apple has avoided over 8 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
- Using the power of solar, Apple has added over 4 gigawatts of renewable electricity online to its supply chain.
- In October 2020, Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Tilbury unveiled the largest solar rooftop installation of any Amazon site in Europe.
- The building has 2 million sq. ft. of operating space (that’s the equivalent of 28 football pitches!), which has been fitted with more than 11,500 solar panels.
- The array could power 700 homes for one year.
- Solar projects such as the Tilbury site help power Amazon’s local utility grids and achieve the company’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Aviva’s Perth office in Scotland has been the centre for this company’s solar power, electric vehicle (EV) and energy storage investments.
- The Perth project includes 3,283 solar PV panels which are set to generate 812,000kWh – this is enough power to take the site off the energy grid for five hours each day.
- Three-quarters of this solar-generated energy will be used to power the firm’s offices and to charge 50 electric vehicles at once.
- The power generated from the solar array is enough to power 500 homes or a small town for a year.
- The project received support from the Scottish Government to advance Scotland’s low carbon transition.
Swedish home furnishing store IKEA has its very own sustainability strategy to ensure a positive impact on the environment is made. While the company has reported that it is now energy independent across its operations in Nordic countries (in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark), the company is currently using both solar and wind generated energy to provide some of the power needed by stores across the UK.
- While stores in the US and Australia have been at the forefront of IKEA’s push into solar power, efforts have also been made to maximise the energy efficiency of its UK stores so that less energy is required to run them.
- The company produced as much renewable energy as it consumed renewable sources in 2020.
- By 2030, IKEA is committed to reducing its total climate footprint by an average of 70% per product.
8. John Lewis Partnership
The John Lewis Partnership has made its eco-friendly position very clear by investing in 100% clean technology and renewable energy sources to cut its emissions. To achieve this, the company has signed a three-year clean energy supply agreement with Engie.
- John Lewis’s three-year energy contract with Engie includes a corporate power purchase deal to help deliver its ambitious environmental goals.
- The three-year contract will use power from solar generators, producing 70GWh of energy a year.
- In addition, the company has pledged to be net zero carbon across its entire UK operations by 2050 at the latest.
Clean energy solutions company Grisdvere has signed a deal with some of Britain’s largest companies including WHSmith, Costa Coffee and the Post Office, to provide the UK’s first electric forecourts.
- Up to 30 vehicles at a time will be able to charge, with energy to power the chargers generated using onsite solar panels. The solar panels are connected to battery storage arrays.
- The EV power chargers will be able to deliver up to 250kW of charging power, enabling drivers to add 200 miles of range in just 20 minutes.
- These multiple new major partnerships will make it simpler and cheaper to charge an electric vehicle than to fuel a petrol or diesel alternative, helping UK companies and the public practice sustainability more easily.
British supermarket chain Waitrose has joined in the efforts towards sustainability by creating its very own solar powered dairy farm.
- Located at the Leckford Estate in Hampshire, Waitrose has installed a 186 KWp solar panel array on the roof of its milking parlour. This way they could generate their own clean, renewable energy.
- The solar array helps to power the milking equipment and lighting on site.
- Based off 2015 projections, this system is expected to save 7 tonnes of CO2 each year.