An increasing number of UK businesses are exploring on-site renewable energy generation as a solution to energy bill hikes. Green Economy Advisor Ashley Hulme explores how effective on-site energy is, and whether it’s a solution your business would benefit from. 

In a recent report by nPower Business Solutions, 58 per cent of surveyed businesses said they were increasing energy efficiency to combat energy risk, and 27 per cent are investing in self-generation. In addition, 39 per cent are switching to renewable energy in a bid to mitigate current risks in the energy market.  
These approaches have multiple benefits. Firstly, by reducing reliance on external energy providers businesses are able to exert greater control over cashflow by avoiding the high costs associated with importing energy at peak times. A switch to low carbon energy practices will also align with net zero business goals and decarbonise day-to-day operations.  

Untapped potential  

Current estimates show that with more companies turning to their own methods of renewable energy generation, on-site wind capacity could grow between 6GW and 29GW by 2035. Further to this, if the UK used as little as 5 per cent of available commercial rooftop space across the UK for solar, it could generate cost savings of approximately £12.6bn per year.  
Many businesses are unaware of their own capacity for onsite renewable energy. Large car parks with empty spaces, warehouse roofs, and underused land all provide opportunity for renewable energy technology to be installed. Companies like Green Economy member Q Sustain have analysed the capacity for green technology to be installed at train stations across the country, the same can be done for organisations with property and warehouses. If businesses rallied to explore on-site energy, the UK’s dependence on international gas and oil pipelines would be greatly reduced and unearth a host of benefits.  
The cost savings associated with on-site renewable energy is a major pull-factor for businesses. A 2019 CBS study of the manufacturing sector found that green technology such as battery storage and solar could save the sector at least £540m on its energy bills. By bringing your business’ energy on-site, you can turn energy into a tradable asset capable of unlocking new revenue streams.  

Community Energy Generation  

Not every business has the capacity for their own on-site renewable energy generation, but this doesn’t exclude them from green energy solutions to the pressing energy crisis.  
“Community energy generation is great for businesses because they won’t have the capital outlay, can have cheaper energy than at market rates, the electricity is green and will help their local community,” says Helen Seagrave, community energy manager at Electricity North West. Community energy projects grant businesses access to green energy supplies without having to pay peak prices straight from the grid.   
Electricity North West have worked on a variety of community energy projects, including member-owned Burneside Community Energy (BCE) which has installed 99.58kW of solar panels on the roofs of Burneside buildings since 2015. Installing these solar panels and creating a community energy hub in Burneside has led to lower energy costs and carbon footprints across multiple buildings. The primary goal of community energy generation is to protect local businesses with a shared, renewable energy network that can stand independently from traditional and costly fossil fuel grid connection.   
Is your business considering on-site or community energy generation? Speak to one of our expert advisors for guidance on procuring the right green technology. Search our marketplace to find local renewable energy manufacturers and installers ready to partner with you. 

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Ashley Hulme

Business Advisor

Ash is a business advisor with experience as the director of Ligero Design, who create and manufacture ultra-efficient LED lighting systems. He started Ligero Design with the goal of helping organisations make sustainable choices, and he has an advanced understanding of the low-carbon technologies businesses can adopt to achieve net zero targets and sustainable growth.   
Ash has an in-depth knowledge the supply chain process, working with staff at all levels to implement strategies related to green retrofitting, energy saving, and the decarbonisation of supply chains. He is committed to helping companies make the sustainable decisions necessary to reach net zero and keenly follows new innovations and technology across the sector.  
Aside from his experience in the green technologies and services sector, Ash is a School Governor who assists the Careers Lead in developing their career pathway and connecting with local businesses to utilise their support.