Solar the most popular choice for businesses looking to renewables for decarbonisation strategies

South Somerset District Council announces plans for nine rooftop solar installations

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Solar is the most popular choice for businesses looking to invest in renewables as part of their decarbonisation strategies, according to a new report from npower Business Solutions (nBS).

In the company’s ‘Plot Your Path to Net Zero – A Focus on Sustainable On-Site Generation’ report, it found that 50% of businesses are planning to invest in on-site generation despite economic challenges.

Due to falling costs and the relative ease of installation, solar proved the most popular choice with 77% of those who have already invested and 66% of those who are planning to invest in on-site generation choosing solar. Businesses are also looking to install batteries and energy storage, nBS found, with numerous organisations looking to combine renewables like solar with storage to ensure a stable supply.

Beyond solar, combined heat and power had already been installed in 38% of the over 50 businesses consulted. Biomass had been installed by 23% and wind by 15%. This was largely representative of investment plans as well, with 33% looking at CHP and 24% looking at wind. However, biomass was the least popular choice going forwards, with less than 10% planning to install it.

Anthony Ainsworth, chief operating officer, industrial and commercial energy sales and solutions at E.ON UK and nBS, said it was encouraging to see that half of the businesses were already on their “on-site generation journey” but that it means “there are still another 50% where it is not in their immediate plans, either due to lack of funds, or because they don’t believe it is suitable for their organisation”.

“On a positive note, there is now a significant choice for commercial installations, so while conducting a thorough site feasibility assessment is important, on-site generation is now possible for a large number of businesses. Other routes to renewable energy could include a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), where no upfront capital is needed.”

The report found that businesses would welcome further governmental support for on-site generation however, ahead of other decarbonisation strategies like energy efficiency and electric vehicles. It stated that 63% of respondents didn’t feel that the recent and current government policies did enough to give organisations the confidence to invest.

Proving the return on investment and access to funding were highlighted as the two main barriers to the adoption of on-site renewables.

“It is clear more needs to be done to give businesses the confidence to invest, particularly after what has been a very challenging year,” finished Ainsworth. “Supporting them on their road to net zero will be crucial to the UK hitting its targets, so it is important that any forthcoming policies take this into account.”

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