The Solar Trade Association – which recently launched a Scottish branch – has published a new clear and easy to use UK-wide checklist to give managers in commerce and industry the confidence to put solar on their roofs.
Commercial and industrial roofs dominate the solar market in Europe, but in the UK commercial roofs account for only 5% of all solar deployment to date.
However, as part of DECC’s 2014 Solar PV Strategy, the emphasis is now changing significantly towards boosting rooftop installations and the STA and its members are working closely with Government to help unlock the huge potential across the UK.
The small commercial roofs sub-market (50kW-250kW) is growing steadily but slowly, with 170MW installed in total across 1200 installations. One of the limiting factors to the market is commercial awareness and confidence from rooftop owners who need reliable guidance.
The government focus on this sector and the STA work to support, identify and break down barriers, is now showing signs of significant growth in this market: the first quarter of 2015 saw deployment double compared to the first quarter of 2014.
However, the latest DECC data shows there are only 70 larger-scale (250kW+) solar roofs installed across the UK, and this is where more focus and support is required to tackle the limited deployment. More high profile schemes like the Jaguar Land Rover and BMW car factory roofs are needed.
A Solar Trade Association spokesman said: “From Apple to Walmart, many well-known companies are going solar to reduce their carbon footprint and because they want the reliable and clean power supply solar provides during work hours.
“Many companies want to follow suit, and if we can help them to identify competent contractors then we will have more UK success stories. We hope our Confidence Checklist will empower more commercial sector managers to install solar on the roofs of their company premises.”
The checklist, which can be downloaded from the STA website, is applicable to all size of commercial rooftop installation from schools and small businesses to large supermarkets and factories.
Solar has been installed on a huge range of structures across the UK including bridges, airports, city skyscrapers, railway station roofs, car parks and even motorway sound barriers. Solar can also be integrated in to buildings, embedded in glass as windows, and also included as a vertical building façade.