Big Yellow claims solar panel success


With the retail sector continually looking to cut energy bills and reduce its environmental impact in a challenging environment, self storage firm Big Yellow has said its solar campaign has improved its business.

Paul Donnelly, CSR Manager at Big Yellow explained: “Our solar programme has helped us cut carbon as well as our energy bills – so we have actually been making money from our roofs!”

Big Yellow, which worked with Solarcentury to install 16 solar PV roof systems across its extensive roof spaces known as ‘Big Green‘, says the panels now provide a majority of the electricity demand. The company, which posted a £29.2m recurring profit for the year to March 2014, has been an early adoptor of sustainable initiatives.

Of the 1.8m commercial properties in the UK only around 400 commercial scale solar PV systems have so far been installed which represents a gap in the market. But some retailers remain concerned that protecting the roof and a possible fall in the value of the building could prove a headache.

Andrew Bolitho, energy and transport policy adviser at the British Retail Consortium moved to allay any fears. “Helping the environment reflects positively on reputation and reduces energy bills.”

Suzanna Lashford, head of commercial UK Sales at Solarcentury commented: “We believe many retailers understand the benefits of going solar – IKEA, Sainsbury‘s, Walmart, Greggs and Big Yellow Self Storage are all now benefiting from long-term reduced running costs.”

“It means we‘re profitable but not at the expense of the environment,” Donnelly concluded.