Early in 2021 Zero Chippenham were approached by Corsham based Lick the Spoon chocolates with a request to quote for a rooftop solar installation on their Corsham industrial unit. The company operation was suited to solar due to its daytime working hours and need for increased cooling during the summer months. The company was all electric and used air sourced heat pumps for both heating and cooling, though mostly cooling.
The company utilised a three phase supply. In order to maximise the available roof space solar electricity generation, Zero Chippenham’s recommended solar installer chose a 35 panel layout covering all the available roof space, giving close to 12kW of generation. As the panels would be within 1m of the roof edge this required planning permission.
The company engaged a local architect to draw up the required to scale plans necessary for the Wiltshire planning application.
An application for planning permission was submitted to Wiltshire Council in August 2021. After several months of interactions and delays in the planning system, permission was finally granted in early 2022.
The installation commenced in May 2022 and went without any problems, though supply chain shortages did mean the panels need to be changed for an all black panel at short notice, though these were a visual improvement. The panels were connected to the company’s electrical consumer unit via a Growatt inverter.
The installation of the solar panels was well timed as the company’s electricity renewal saw increase in unit price from 15p/kWh to 34p/kWh!
The company used 16,500 kWh per year and it was estimated that the solar would generate 9320kWh / year. Importantly this allowed the company to offset the rise in electricity costs.
After installing a smart meter and signing up to the Octopus Export scheme the company was able to earn 15p/kWh on any excess solar generated, particularly at weekends.
Lick the Spoon said…
We’re delighted with our Zero Chippenham solar installation. We initially intended to carry out the installation to reduce our carbon emissions, with a relatively long payback period. The recent energy crisis has shown that reducing carbon emissions also means saving energy costs. By generating our own rooftop electricity we’re able to offset the increases in unit energy costs. Not only that but the payback period has now reduced to under 5 years due to the exceptionally high energy costs and competitive installation pricing.
The solar installation produced a calculated CO2 saving of 4837 kg CO2 per year. This equated to the estimated 5 tonne of CO2 produced by the company based on current Scope 2 location based emissions. This allowed the company to declare net zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 Carbon emissions for 2022.
Though the owners retired from chocolate at the start of 2023, the panels continue to generate and will provide the new unit tenant with a competitive edge in terms of energy costs. Whilst the business has transitioned the competitive Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) of 15p/kWh from Octopus has meant the business owners have had zero electricity bills and are in credit.
Lick the Spoon’s director Matthew Short has since joined Zero Chippenham as a volunteer administrator for the solar scheme.