A year after 7,000 solar panels were fitted to the roof of Promens Packaging’s plant in Beccles, Suffolk, the installer behind the project has announced the generation of the array’s millionth unit of green electricity.

Lightsource Renewable Energy is leasing the packaging company’s giant roof to house the 1.65MW array, thought to be the largest roof-mounted system in the UK. In return, Promens benefits from substantially reduced utility costs by running almost all its daytime operations on the cheaper solar electricity it purchases from Lightsource.    

Adrian Banks, Engineering Manager at Promens Packaging, spoke of the incredible savings the company has managed to make: “From July 2011 to the end of June this year we have generated 1.2GWh, utilised 970MWh, exported to the grid the remaining 191MWh and in the process saving us over £50,000.00 on our electricity bill. These are clearly significant figures and we would expect the benefit to increase further over the next 12 months, especially with energy tariffs going up.”

However, the company are not just experiencing financial benefits, Banks explained: “I think it has put out a very positive message to our staff and customers alike. It’s difficult to say if business has been won as a direct consequence, but our greener credentials certainly impress when customers visit our site and see our aerial photos.

“As a company, one of our key values is to have the courage to challenge conventional wisdom and react quickly to new technologies and opportunities. So, when Lightsource first approached us in March 2011, we adopted the idea of the solar installation very quickly – a decision that we’re very pleased we made.”

Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource added: “It’s remarkable what can be achieved in such a short time and we’re proud to have made a significant difference in reducing energy bills. Promens is a prime example of how commercial property owners and high electricity users can benefit from leasing otherwise unutilised roof or ground space to us with no expenditure and no adverse impact on existing business activity. Once an organisation enters into an RPI index-linked Power Purchase Agreement with us, they will enjoy not only significant reductions in their energy bills but far greater pricing certainty for the future.”