M&S installs UK’s largest rooftop solar array

Retailer Marks & Spencer has completed the installation of the UK’s largest single roof mounted solar panel array on its East Midlands distribution centre in Castle Donington.

The solar photovoltaic (PV) array will span the site’s 900,000 sq ft roof and is expected to generate more than 5,000MWh of electricity per year, the equivalent amount of energy to power 1,190 houses. The 24,272 PV panel structure will provide nearly 25% of the energy required for the fully automated distribution centre.

The PV array will help M&S maintain its commitment of sourcing 100% of its electricity for UK and Ireland buildings from renewable sources, with 50% sourced from small scale renewable sources by 2020.

The retailer has agreed a power purchase agreement with infrastructure specialist Amber Infrastructure, which is supplying and maintaining the 6.1MWp solar panel array, having now completed its installation. The agreement runs for 20 years, with commitment from M&S to purchase all electricity generated by the solar panels.

Amber Rudd, minister for energy and climate change, said of the project: “There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations – and this is a great example of how businesses can reap the benefits.”

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