Kingspan Group is launching a range of fully-funded solar PV solutions for commercial rooftops in the UK.

The group’s energy division claims that it is the first fully-funded provider of PV systems for industrial and commercial buildings in the UK and Ireland.  

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Peter Turley, business unit manager for Kingspan Energy, explained the company’s “three-pronged attack” on the commercial solar sector. Turley said that the company would be looking to retrofit solar onto all of the existing roofs that the company had fitted in the last 10 years. In addition, Kingspan will be offering roof refurbishments that come complete with solar PV. The company recently refurbished the roof of its insulation manufacturing plant in Selby and fitted it with a 2.72MW array which is predicted to generate around half of the site’s annual consumption.

Importantly, Kingspan is attempting to tackle the new-build market. Turley explained that Kingspan manufactures around 5 million square metres of new-build commercial roof every year in the UK alone. Kingspan Energy estimates that this equates to around 500MW of potential solar purely from new build.

Gilbert McCarthy, managing director of the Kingspan Insulation Panels believes that solar PV has overcome one of the major barriers that has been hampering take up in the commercial/industrial space, he said: “Solar is a respected asset now, it’s made that transition into a robust asset so investors are happy to accept a lower return and that’s where you get the buy in from the big funds because they see it as a mature asset.”

Turley added: “Commercial/industrial rooftop is just starting to find it’s feet. There is a significant pipeline but again it’s all going through the gestation period. Some big funds are looking at their portfolio and the potential of putting solar on it. So it’s quite exciting what could potentially happen, given the fact that a lot of those funds are the biggest property owners in the UK. Unlocking that is key to deploying significant volume in the UK.”

To highlight the potential of commercial solar in the UK, Kingspan Energy carried out a study that revealed UK businesses could save over £5 billion a year in electricity costs by going solar. The company estimates that installing solar on 61% of the country’s 2,500km2 of south-facing commercial roofspace would meet the entire energy demand of UK plc.

McCarthy added: “The immediate savings produced by adopting commercial rooftop PV can only increase the competitiveness of UK businesses. When you consider the increased savings over time compared with the grid, the opportunity becomes even more compelling.”

Minister for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd, welcomed Kingspan’s move into the space, stating: “As Kingspan has identified in its own research, the benefits from solar to business are huge.”   

The company will offer fully integrated and warranted rooftop systems which carry a 25-year guarantee. Kingspan Energy expects to complete in excess of 30MW of commercial rooftop this year, with targets to double this during 2015.