Ever conscious of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Snows Group is liaising with Green Power Projects to ensure that the award-winning motor business becomes increasingly environmentally friendly.
By having solar panels installed on the roofs of buildings, Snows Group hopes to provide a sustainable future for its offices and dealerships, and to ensure that harmful CO2 emissions are reduced for the surrounding communities and beyond. The majority of systems used at Snows Group are 30kW systems: these consist of 100-120 solar panels and can be expected to make approximately 30,000 units of energy a year – that’s 30,000 kilowatt hours (kWh).
The partnership between the two companies launched in summer 2016, when a 30kW system was commissioned for Snows Volvo Winchester on 30th June. Since installation, the solar panels at this dealership have generated just under 12,000 units of energy – that’s the equivalent of over 36,000 lightbulbs powered for a day. They’ve also saved 4,700kg CO2 from entering the atmosphere, and planted the equivalent of almost sixteen mature trees (all values to the nearest round number, taken from Solar Edge on 19-01-17).
Later in 2016, units were installed at more of the Group’s dealerships, including SEAT and Suzuki Poole, Toyota and Lexus Exeter, and Volvo and KIA Basingstoke. There was also an alteration at Snows Volvo Winchester when a new MOT building was established, and a smaller 11kW system was installed in addition to the existing solar panels. Keen to begin the New Year in the same vein, in January 2017 a system was installed at Snows Group’s site in Plymouth, where the Lexus, Toyota, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle marques are represented.
From the six buildings on five sites the estimated monetary savings, after the initial investment, is estimated at £574,000 over 20 years!
Green Power Projects promote a system called Solar Edge, where clients can log in and access data regarding the energy generated by their solar panels. This system feeds directly off of the panels installed on the client’s roof, monitoring each one individually to gauge their efficiency. This means that Snows Group can see exactly how much energy has been created by its solar panels each day.
Stephen Snow, Group Chairman of Snows Group, takes a direct interest in the Group’s energy efficiency. He states that, ‘Being able to log in to Solar Edge and monitor the status of the solar panels is a fantastic bonus. It means that we can keep track of each dealership’s energy generation and consumption, and thus assess whether we’re on the right path towards sustainability. By doing our bit for the environment, we hope to improve the world that we – and our customers – live in’.
All in all, Snows Group’s solar panels have generated almost 29,500 units of energy – meaning that the company has powered the equivalent of almost 89,000 lightbulbs or planted almost 40 trees. And crucially, this means that the Group has prevented over 11,500kg CO2 from entering the atmosphere… with the numbers rising every day.
As proved by the increasing number of hybrid and electric vehicles on the market, the motor industry is keenly investing in a sustainable future. Snows Group is no different, and with this in mind the company will continue working with Green Power Projects on a range of ventures.
As Stephen Snow added, ‘Green Power Projects has been invaluable – the support and resources provided by Kevin Fryer and the team are greatly appreciated. There are many ways for a business like ours to become more environmentally friendly, and we look forward to working with Kevin over the next few years as we continue our growth and develop our efficiency even further’.
Established in 1994, Premier Marinas Limited owns and operates nine of the UK’s most prestigious marinas. Located at popular harbours along the English south coast, Premier was quick to appreciate the potential benefits of solar PV to support its immediate and future energy needs. In 2012 they engaged an installer to add solar panels to their Eastbourne site. Regrettably, the system didn’t perform as Premier had hoped. The installer was unable to rectify the faults with the installation to Premier’s satisfaction. It was then, following a recommendation to contact Green Power Projects that the company decided to seek further advice. Could Green Power restore Premier’s faith in solar?
Although Premier’s Eastbourne site was one of the first fully commercial solar installations to involve the Green Power Projects team, their superior design and technical expertise was clearly evident as they identified the faults and recommended the essential work to bring the system into productive use.
According to Premier Marinas, “We were impressed by Green Power Projects attention to detail and willingness to sort out the problems they had identified at our Eastbourne marina. They soon had our solar PV system up and working producing green energy at the level we had hoped to achieve.”
Their confidence in solar renewed, Premier Marinas asked Green Power Projects for designs, recommendations and projections for their other sites.
Green Power expands its working partnership with Premier
Premier committed to a plan of introducing solar power as an energy source and income generator throughout their portfolio of marinas and also took advantage of the Government's generous Feed in Tariffs (FiT). To date the Green Power Projects team have completed a further 5 sites for Premier. These are at Chichester, Swanwick, Falmouth, Southsea and Gosport.
A new marina, already in the early stages of construction planning will also have solar PV as an integral power source linking all building in the estate.
"I'm pleased to say that the installation at our six sites have exceeded our expectations and our ROI has now improved from 8 years down to 5, which means that our solar panels are considerably reducing our energy bills for many years to come!"
As summed up by Premier Marina`s Operations Director John Cervenka on the company’s position on their solar PV investment. Last year we also did a review on our energy usage and looked in particular at how we could make our lighting more energy efficient. We asked Green Power Projects for their recommendations. Impressed by their proposal we commissioned Green Power Projects to replace our halogen lights with LED.
Our move to LED has not only provided savings on the usage, but all the installations have a 7-year guarantee – in the unlikely event that any fail, Green Power will replace them within the terms of the guarantee. That’s a zero maintenance costs for us.
With the reduction of wattage we are saving up to 80% of the power we use.
The initial price of the bulbs was paid for with the savings within 18 months. Needless to say we’re very happy with Green Powers ability to make our solar revolution a profitable experience.
Amazon Filters design and manufacture complex micro-filtration filter cartridges and filter housings for critical liquid and gas applications. Their markets are diverse – from automotive and manufacturing to food and pharmaceuticals – and their clients are worldwide.
In 2015 at their UK operation in Camberley, Surrey, Amazon Filters conducted a complete review of their environmental responsibilities and continuing commitment to using sustainable resources to ensure full and confident compliance with their ISO 14001 accreditation. In that review they were drawn to the benefits of solar PV and through recommendation engaged Green Power Projects to advise them.
Green Power Projects response
After an initial consultation, Green Power Projects drew up a comprehensive proposal for discussion.
Amazon’s MD, Neil Pizzey, was impressed with Green Power’s case for solar PV. “With the value proposition that Green Power offered we could reduce our impact on the planet and make savings on our energy consumption and have a return on investment within six-and-a-half years."
Once the plan had been approved, Green Power Projects installed solar PV panels across five buildings with a total area of 7,700 square metres: this meant a 30kw system on each of the buildings. Each building took around 3 days to complete and the whole site was connected to the grid and up and running within three weeks.
A profitable ’Green Power’ result for Amazon Filters
Amazon’s Facilities Lead, Paul Wallace, report on the outcome confirms their confidence in Green Power’s proposal. “I am pleased to say that in financial terms it’s made perfect sense. Our energy savings combined with the Government’s FIT tariff, means that our payback over 20 years will be an impressive £600k in our favour. It will not stop there as free power will continue after that.
With our choice to go with solar – a reliable, renewable source – and the return on the investment, helped by the financial incentives, it ticked all the boxes for a sound environmental and commercial decision.”
Living with the installation has meant that it is a “fit and forget” with no reliability issues. "We’re also seeing an over achievement of the quoted savings, which means we’re looking to an even quicker return on our investment."
Founded in 1963, Walcon Marine is a family-owned company based in Segensworth, Hampshire, that designs, builds and installs marinas and other berthing facilities for yachts and workboats. One of the leaders in its field, its high-quality products can be found from the Caribbean to the Far East, Australia and South Africa.
We were initially recommended to Walcon as a supplier of solar photovoltaic systems by its long-standing client Premier Marinas. Premier has a number of solar installations supplied by us across their portfolio of marinas on the south coast.
As Keith Walker, Financial Controller at Walcon, explained: “Premier demonstrated to us how the installation of the solar panels has helped to reduce their carbon footprint as well as cutting their energy bills. They also explained how easy the installation process was with Green Power Projects."
“We then made contact with Green Power Projects and they visited us, provided a quotation and talked us through the procedure and the potential for savings that we could achieve by including solar power in our energy mix. Their assessment was that we could install solar panels capable of generating up to 50 kW and this would mean that we would start making a positive return on our investment after approximately 6 years 10 months."
Walcon’s board approved the expenditure and we went ahead with the installation in March 2015.
“They arrived on time and it was completed and fully operational within two days,” continued Keith Walker. “Disruption was minimal and the Green Power team was very polite and efficient. We have considered a number of interesting investment opportunities in recent years, but very few with the ability to deliver a higher return that was originally projected. In this case, the solar installation has already performed 5% above the original estimate. I wish that all our investments could deliver returns like this.”
The monitoring system that forms a key part of the installation allows Walcon staff to view what energy the panels are delivering and the size of the resulting savings at any given time.
The results so far have been a direct saving of over 40% on the energy bills at its main site, and breakeven is now expected to be achieved within six years.