There are several reasons why businesses across Europe are using their rooftops as electricity generators – and why we’re now seeing this trend in the UK.
Commercial buildings are responsible for 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, while UK companies are thought to be missing out on up to £1.6 billion in cost savings achievable through investment in energy efficiency.
For occupiers contemplating on-site generation, there are several financial, environmental and efficiency advantages. That’s in addition to a potential increase in worker productivity of up to 14% from investment in better temperature and ventilation.
There are other drivers too – energy prices are not only high but also hard to predict, making planning difficult. Dwindling oil reserves have made security of supply an issue, while rising demand and lack of infrastructure investment have prompted warnings of blackouts.
One reason commercial rooftop solar generation has been slow to take off historically is lack of interest among owners. Tenants tend to pay the electicity bill so landlords with other priorities have not felt incentivised.
Now occupiers are waking up to the potential benefits – due to awareness-raising campaigns such as Building Efficiency, the rise of facilities management as a sector, competition among suppliers and newly available technologies.
And they’re not the only ones – customers, employees, visitors, even passers-by are drawn to businesses that manifest a commitment to carbon reduction, ideally combined with quality, style and innovation.
With new solar subsidy all but ended, generating electricity to sell into the grid is no longer worthwhile, but potential savings are substantial and installations can pay for themselves in a few years. While precise figures must be calculated according to individual circumstances, a typical building with 10,000 sq ft of usable roof space in an area with UK-average sunshine could generate 130,000kWh or more per year, saving on average more than £21,000 on energy costs annually.
Solar panels and inverters are now efficient, robust and available in many configurations, while advances in battery storage mean power captured in daylight can be used at any time. But for those contemplating solar, great equipment is of little value unless it stays in place and works properly.
Schweizer rooftop PV mounting systems for flat-roofs, metal roofs and pitched roofs have made solar self-generation quicker, easier and more economical than ever before.
Four mounting systems are available – MSP-PR for pitched roofs, MSP-TT for trapezoidal metal roofs, MSP-FR-S mounting system for flat roofs (South) and MSP-FR-EW mounting system for flat roofs (East-West). They all share the same clamps and components for ease of handling and are supported by top-drawer planning software, provided free of chanrge, to make the process go smoothly.
That means not only can firms get the system that best suits them, they can also mix and match solar arrays to roof type and structure shape to maximise generation – important for older, unusual or mixed designs.
Being committed to solar for the long term, Schweizer understands the needs of its customers. While each system in this best in-class catalogue is simple, fast and cost-effective to instal, some may be surprised at how economical they are.
Founded in 1920, Schweizer is a strong, stable, family-owned Swiss engineering company with SFr125 million (£100 million) revenues and relatively low costs. Its contemporary product solutions are aligned with ever-changing market requirements; its focus is on quality, reliability, install speed and economy.
Schweizer acquired the Hilti MSP mounting systems line in 2014 and has since continued to develop the range to ensure it progresses at the forefront of innovation across Europe in markets including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, the UK and Ireland.
Quality engineering recognises that mechanical failure can lead to additional unnecessary costs, damaged property or even personal injury. MSP mounting systems come with planning software including complete structural analysis and are certified to IEC, TÜV and MCS standards.
The EPCs and installers who specify MSP also rely on this innovative Swiss solar specialist to save on installation time and complexity, minimise the risk of mistakes and because the planning is also easy to revise.