The UK’s largest land owner, the Crown Estate, has given solar power its stamp of approval by installing a 164.5kWp rooftop system on a stone factory on the Isle of Portland in Dorset.

Albion Stone, the owner of the factory, will save thousands of pounds on its annual electricity bill thanks to the system, which is expected to generate 150,000 kWh a year. Electricity generated from the £500,000 installation will be sold to Albion Stone at a reduced rate, with any surplus fed in to the National Grid.

The 800 panels were installed not on the original roof but with the help of project developer Solarcentury’s building-integrated photovoltaic ‘Energy Roof’, thus reducing maintenance costs and the aesthetic impact.

“Our investment at Portland represents a significant first step into solar energy for us,” Alan Laidlaw, the head of new business development at the Crown Estate, said. “We will continue to create opportunities for renewable energy investment on our estate, and are already planning further installations in the coming years.

“In particular, we welcome a joint investment approach to renewable energy, which works both for us and our tenants, by protecting their businesses from volatile energy markets, and at the same time cutting carbon emissions from our estate.”

Solarcentury’s sales director, Susannah Wood, added, “The Crown Estate recognised that solar can add value to their buildings by reducing energy costs for its tenants. Choosing to update the property with a new solar roof, or ‘Energy Roof’, is part of a growing trend to use solar power as a building product. The owners of agricultural and industrial properties are finding this an innovative way to update and maximise yields from buildings.”