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M&S plans largest PV solar array


UK: Supermarket group Marks & Spencer is to install the UK’s largest single roof-mounted solar panel array on its East Midlands distribution centre in Castle Donington.

The project, which is expected to be completed early next year, will see the solar PV system spanning the site’s 80,000m² roof and generating over 5,000MWh of electricity per year.

RW09-13.08.2014-19The 24,272 PV panel structure is expected to lower M&S’s carbon footprint by 48,000 tonnes over 20 years. M&S claims the energy generated will be enough to make the fully automated distribution centre, which is big enough to hold 11 football pitches, close to self-sufficient during daylight hours. The distribution centre already incorporates what is said to be the largest solar thermal wall.

The solar PV roof is one of a number of onsite renewable projects set to be announced by M&S over the next 12 months.It is part of the retailer’s commitment to ensure 50% of the electricity used in its building operations comes from small scale renewable sources by 2020.

The M&S distribution centre also includes a 4,500m² SolarWall, installed by the County-Durham-based CA Group. The largest example on a single building in the world, it will generate more than 1,135,000kWh and saving over 256 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

“This further enhances the sustainability credentials of our BREEAM Excellent Castle Donington site,” commented Hugo Adams, director of pProperty at M&S. “Coupled with one of Europe’s largest solar thermal walls, the new solar PV system will make the building one of the most sustainable distribution centres in the world.”

Amber Infrastructure will be supplying and installing the 6.1MWp solar panel system. M&S has agreed a 20 year power purchase agreement to purchase all of the electricity generated by the solar PV system.

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