A site visit from Low Carbon Dorset’s technical officer confirmed that the Stalbridge site and William Hughes’ current electricity demand would make an excellent financial and environmental case for installing solar PV. Low Carbon Dorset was able to offer a grant to cover 40% of the project costs.
The installation of the panels was originally scheduled for summer 2020, but the project came to a rapid holt when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. But, as restrictions began to lift, they quickly got the project back on track and the installation was rescheduled for October of the same year.
1,130 panels were installed on the available factory roof space in Stalbridge. The system will generate 378,412kWh of useable electricity per year, around 71% of which will be consumed onsite by William Hughes.
Thanks to the ‘Solar Edge’ software provided by the installer of the panels, William Hughes can monitor how much energy their array is generating day-to-day, versus the amount they are consuming. It even shows them how much electricity they are exporting to the grid daily.
According to the installer (Clean Earth Energy), William Hughes will pay an equivalent forward buying price of just over 3p per kWh for the system’s 25-year lifetime. On average UK manufacturers pay 9p per kWh**, which means William Hughes will save around £35k in electricity costs in the first year alone.
The full cost of this installation would take 6 years to pay for itself, with the help of a Low Carbon Dorset grant this payback period has been reduced to just under 4 years.
**Source: BEIS report, September 2020