Swindon Commercial Services Limited (SCS) has installed solar panels on its office, warehouse and bus depot roof as part of Swindon Borough Council’s Sustainable Energy Framework. By installing photovoltaics across the building rooftops, the Council hopes to reduce its carbon footprint as well as its rising energy bills.

Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet approved the proposal to install solar photovoltaics on the council roofs on June 8, agreeing to invest £900,000. The council then instructed SCS to design and install solar panels on five key sites, including SCS’s depot (grounds & PVCu workshops), Thamesdown Transport’s Bus Depot, Catherine Wayte School and SBC Civic offices in Swindon’s town centre.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) decision to alter the feed-in tariff for systems over 50kW meant SCS had to mobilise the first two installations quickly in order to maximise the benefit and return the photovoltaic systems would provide.

The SCS’s depot project, which totalled 124kWp, consists of 536 panels spread out across two roofs. The system is expected to provide a total saving of £38,503.98 per annum, over £33,000 of which will be returned to the Council in order to recoup the initial investment.

The second installation at Thamesdown’s Bus Depot used 432 panels on a single roof, producing 99kWp. This project will provide a total saving of £33,695.59, again with the Council seeing the largest share of this return.

The last two projects are on or under the 50kW mark, meaning they did not have to beat the August 1 deadline.

The 50kW Catherine Wayte School installation will utilise 217 panels and will see savings of over £16,000 while the Civic offices roof in Euclid Street will produce 42kWp, providing the Council with nearly £14,000 savings a year.

“In the current economic climate there is no greater or safer return in an investment as the ones we will see with photovoltaics,” said Bill Fisher, SCS Managing Director.

The first two projects were commissioned on the July 18 and Ofgem confirmed on July 26 that both sites were eligible to claim the feed-in tariff.

Paul Jenkins, Managing Director of Thamesdown Transport said, “We were delighted to be able to work in partnership with Swindon Commercial Services Limited and the Borough Council on this project. The installation was planned very closely with our engineering team and there was very little disruption to our depot operations.”

Robert Buckland, MP for Swindon said, “I am delighted to see Swindon Borough Council through its delivery partners SCS demonstrate civic leadership in taking advantage of the support available to move solar energy projects off the drawing board and onto installations in Swindon.”

Swindon Commercial Services Limited (SCS) is a leading partner in Swindon Borough Council’s (SBC) Sustainable Energy Framework. SCS has also completed a housing development project to build 13 Code 5 sustainable homes, the first built in Swindon and the first SBC Council houses to be built for over 20 years. These properties also had solar panels fitted to the roofs in order to generate green electricity and drive energy bills down.