Joint venture launch puts solar energy on the map

Pictured with new Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell are, from left, Paddy Hayes, executive director, ESB, Louise Foody, global marketing director, Kingspan Insulated Panels and Andrew Trimble of Ulster Rugby
Pictured with new Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell are, from left, Paddy Hayes, executive director, ESB, Louise Foody, global marketing director, Kingspan Insulated Panels and Andrew Trimble of Ulster Rugby

An initiative aimed at reducing the cost of electricity to business by 10 per cent a year and increasing the generation of green energy has been unveiled in Belfast.

The Funded Solar energy solution was announced by Kingspan ESB, a joint venture between Kingspan, a global leader in high performance building technologies, and ESB, Ireland’s largest energy company.

The launch at the Kingspan rugby stadium in Belfast was attended by the new Enterprise Minisstr Jonathan Bell who urged businesses to explore the competitive advantages offered by solar technology.

The fully-funded solar solution will enable businesses across the province to benefit from a potential £320 million cost saving over the next 25 years (or £5.6 million each year), supported by significantly improved sustainability and environmental credentials.

Kingspan ESB will design, install and maintain the solar PV system, optimised to each customer’s building and requirements.

The electricity generated by the system will then be used onsite and purchased by the customer at much lower rates than would otherwise be supplied from the grid. The average medium-sized business in Northern Ireland (consuming 400MWh of electricity per year) would see a 10 per cent reduction in their electricity bill.

“Funded Solar represents a significant step forward for the development of the Northern Ireland renewable energy industry,” said ESB executive director Paddy Hayes.

“This collaboration will continue to innovate and deliver sustainable and competitive energy solutions for all our customers. We look forward to ESB and Kingspan working together to help businesses in Northern Ireland to manage energy costs sustainably.”

Gilbert McCarthy, managing director of Kingspan Insulated Panels, said: “For almost 50 years, Kingspan has been a trusted provider of energy efficient building envelope solutions to Irish businesses.

“We are confident this partnership with ESB will now play a significant role in Northern Ireland reaching its target of 40 per cent renewable generation by 2020.

“By removing the financial barrier to the adoption of rooftop solar PV, our fully funded solution strengthens the case for businesses to benefit from green, lower cost power and improve their long-term competitiveness.”

Urging businesses to explore the potential for savings, Mr Bell said the initiative demonstrated how two progressive companies could work together to develop a scheme which was profitable and beneficial to wider business.

“Energy costs are a significant factor in day to day operations for many local companies who are competing in a global marketplace,” he said.

“The ‘Funded Solar’ initiative offers significant benefits to business by reducing and fixing a portion of their energy costs.”

“For many businesses, the costs of purchasing and installing renewables require substantial investment.”

“That is why innovative initiatives such as Kingspan ESB’s Funded Solar are to be very much welcomed. This to

Northern Ireland’s renewable energy industry received a significant boost today with the announcement that

– the equivalent of £5,800 each year, or £330,000 over the course of the 25 year airspace lease above their roof. For the average Large Energy User (consuming 8000MWh per year), this saving increases to £17,000 per year, and £1,055,000, over 25 years.

With Funded Solar, Northern Ireland businesses will be able to fix a portion of their electricity cost indexed to RPI, rather than be exposed to annual utility inflation rates. The potential savings to local businesses will increase year on year throughout the period of the lease if electricity prices increase at historic rates.

Kingspan ESB customers will also benefit from better energy efficiency and carbon credentials, with each system improving a building’s EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and BREEAM rating, thereby enhancing the value of property assets for owner-occupiers and landlords.

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “For many businesses, the costs of purchasing and installing renewables require substantial investment. That is why innovative initiatives such as Kingspan ESB’s Funded Solar are to be very much welcomed. This initiative demonstrates how two progressive companies can work together to develop a scheme which is not only profitable, but beneficial to wider business whilst at the same time contributing to our decarbonisation and renewable energy ambitions.”

As part of the solution, Kingspan ESB offers customers a combined roof and solar PV system guarantee for 25 years, with free lifetime system performance, monitoring and maintenance. Developed for commercial and industrial buildings, the solar PV system can be fitted on a range of roof types, including metal and membrane roofs. The Kingspan ESB system, which will be installed with no costly disruption to business operations, is suitable for new and existing buildings or refurbishments.

Commenting Gilbert McCarthy, Managing Director of Kingspan Insulated Panels, said:

“For almost 50 years, Kingspan has been a trusted provider of energy efficient building envelope solutions to Irish businesses. We are confident this partnership with ESB will now play a significant role in Northern Ireland reaching its target of 40% renewable generation by 2020. By removing the financial barrier to the adoption of rooftop solar PV, our fully funded solution strengthens the case for businesses to benefit from green, lower cost power and improve their long-term competitiveness.”

Speaking at the launch, Paddy Hayes, Executive Director, ESB, added:

“Funded Solar represents a significant step forward for the development of the Northern Ireland renewable energy industry. This collaboration will continue to innovate and deliver sustainable and competitive energy solutions for all our customers. We look forward to ESB and Kingspan working together to help businesses in Northern Ireland to manage energy costs sustainably.”

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