Whitbread completes solar roll out on 88 Premier Inns

Whitbread has completed the installation of solar panels across 88 of its Premier Inn sites in the UK, helping the company in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by 15% by 2020.

The hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator said the solar panels are expected to generate over 1.3GWh of power every year, with each installation meeting around 10% of its site’s energy demand.

The largest installations are 30kWp systems which are in place at three Premier Inn locations in Ipswich North, Wirrall (Heswall) and Basildon East Mayne.

The roll-out programme began in 2012 when Whitbread began installing batches of 10-20 systems per annum. Deployment was ramped up over the 2015/16 financial year, which saw the largest batch of 40 installations take place as part of a single project.

James Pitcher, corporate social responsibility director at Whitbread, said: “Whitbread’s investment in solar PV forms part of our wider strategy to reduce carbon emissions across the business. It will support us in meeting our 2020 target of reducing carbon by 15%, relative to sales turnover and we’ll continue to develop our energy management strategy in line with the growth of our business.”

All of the installations were self-funded and qualified for the feed-in tariff prior to the cuts implemented earlier this year. In addition to the revenue brought in by these installations, Whitbread estimates it will save £280,000 from its energy bills each year, as well as save more than 6,100 tonnes of CO2 in the same period.

The panels have now been installed on 12% of the Premier Inn estate, which are thought to make up the majority of sites eligible for solar PV. However, Whitbread added that it plans to continue investment in renewable technologies when appropriate as part of its wider commitment to carbon reduction.