Amber Infrastructure has acted as the sole funder for the UK's largest roof mounted solar panel array on the Marks and Spencer plc (M&S) East Midlands Distribution Centre in Castle Donington (UK).
The project, which is expected to be completed in early 2015, will span the site's 900,000 sq ft roof and will generate over 5,000 MWh of electricity per year, enough to power 1,190 homes.
The 24,272 PV panel structure will lower M&S's carbon footprint by 48,000 tonnes over 20 years. The energy generated will be enough to make the fully automated distribution centre, which is big enough to hold 11 football pitches, close to self-sufficient during daylight hours.
Amber will also be supplying and installing the 6.1 MW solar panel system, with M&S agreeing to purchase all of the electricity generated by the system through a 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA). The array, designed by the SBC Renewables, includes cantilevered mounting supports allowing for a greater energy yield. The Mark Group, a specialist commercial rooftop installer, are undertaking the construction of the array.
Amber, through its renewable energy joint venture and the legal team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, have created a pioneering approach to providing renewable generation and energy efficiency solutions for commercial and public sector real estate owners. This compliments Amber's existing activities in the energy infrastructure sector which includes projects involving the provision of heat, energy efficiency measures and renewable energy transmission.
Tom O'Shaughnessy, Partner at Amber Infrastructure, stated:
"M&S's Plan A commitment is industry leading. We believe the unique structure of this project will create a template for the delivery of similar schemes across the UK supporting the stated objectives of DECC and wider UK Government. We look forward to revealing the finished array in 2015."
Hugo Adams, Director of Property at M&S, said:
"This further enhances the sustainability credentials of our BREEAM Excellent Castle Donington site. Coupled with one of Europe's largest solar thermal walls, the new solar PV system will make the building one of the most sustainable distribution centres in the world. We look forward to working with Amber Infrastructure on what is an industry leading project in terms of scale."