Guidance to help organisations decide whether to install solar panels has been published by the Solar Trade Association (STA).
Commercial and industrial roofs account for only 5% of all solar deployment to date in the UK, which is in stark contrast to the rest of Europe, where non-domestic installations dominate the market, according to the STA.
The UK market for solar installations between 50kW and 250kW is growing steadily but slowly, with 170MW installed across 1,200 roofs, the STA reports. Although installations doubled in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same time in 2014, a lack of commercial awareness is holding many building owners back, it believes.
Larger-scale solar roofs (250kW +) have seen limited deployment, with only 70 across the UK, according to data from the energy and climate department (Decc). The STA wants to see more high-profile schemes like those at Jaguar Land Rover’s engine plant in Wolverhampton and the BMW factory in Oxford producing Minis.
The STA says its checklist is applicable for commercial rooftop installations, from schools and small businesses to large supermarkets and factories. It aims to help managers identify a quality contractor and monitor the project effectively.
Paul Barwell, STA chief executive, said: “From Apple and Amazon to Marks & Spencer and 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.”
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom said: “It’s great to see industry initiatives like this boosting confidence and take-up, so hardworking families and businesses can benefit from low-carbon energy and lower bills.”