The UK’s first solar-powered business park, Howbery Business Park, in the historic town of Wallingford, powered 34% of its park with solar energy from April to September 2012

[GBP Note:  This article is another example of how a business park’s progressive approach to sustainability is a key differentiator in attracting tenants.]

Wallingford: Howbery Business Park reports solar energy success

The Business Magazine
December 21, 2012

Oxfordshire-based Howbery Business Park has revealed significant energy and carbon savings in its first year since installing 3,000 ground solar panels. The UK’s first solar-powered business park, which counts the Environment Agency among its tenants, powered 34% of its park with solar energy from April to September 2012, beating its initial forecast of 25%. The solar park has generated 730,000kWh in its first 12 months, preventing 400 tonnes of CO2 from being released to the atmosphere. It has fed more than 116,000 kWh to the National Grid to date.

“Solar energy has proved to be a highly effective alternative energy source for our park,” commented John Ormston, chief executive, Howbery Business Park. “We’re committed to building on the success achieved so far by introducing additional energy efficiency measures on site, including the decentralisation of our main steam boiler. We also plan to investigate further renewable energy options for the future, including additional investment in solar energy generation.”

Howbery Business Park opted to use the efficient ground-mounted solar array in 2011 as part of its ongoing strategy to be one of the region’s most sustainable business parks. The system provides 748kW of electricity at peak output.

With a rigorous approach to monitoring its energy usage, site owner HR Wallingford is using automatic sub-metering technology to build a detailed picture of electricity usage, as well as the proportion of energy generated via the solar park.

“We can rapidly pinpoint peak usage times and high usage buildings in real time, which allows us to continually review and improve our energy efficiency measures. We report monthly on our progress and regularly discuss new measures to help ensure a constant path of progression towards energy self-sufficiency.”

The park’s keen focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency has been welcomed by its tenants and is visibly attracting new tenants to the park, with many commenting on the park’s progressive approach to sustainability as a key reason for locating their businesses within its grounds.

“Howbery’s newly created solar park was the primary reason for us deciding to locate our business at the site,” explained Paddy Thompson, general manager business development, Ceramic Fuel Cells. “The park ticked all the boxes in terms of both its commitment to sustainability and its rural surroundings. HR Wallingford’s focus on improving the energy efficiency of the park complements our own focus on commercialising energy efficient fuel cells, and provides the perfect backdrop for our activities.”

Resources: Howbery Business Park website

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