M&G Real Estate has announced plans to install what it says will be the UK’s largest shopping centre solar installation on the roof of The Galleries shopping centre in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
Work is already underway to install the 1,317 panel system, which will cover an area of 41,000 square feet of otherwise unused space at the centre. The array is expected to generate 315MWh of clean electricity annually and save 165 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
It is expected that up to 100% of the electricity generated by the new system will be consumed on site and effectively sold to the centre to repay the total cost of the project of £410,000 over a nine year payback period.
John Duxbury, head of retail and asset management at M&G Real Estate, said: “As a business, we are committed to reducing the amount of energy we use and to shifting the balance so that our power comes from renewable sources more of the time.
“We are proud of this latest strategic investment at The Galleries that will set a new bar for environmental best practice. The creation of renewable energy from equipment installed in otherwise unused areas will help it become an exemplar centre nationally as it markedly lessens the demand for energy from carbon emitting sources.”
The announcement is the latest in a series of initiatives by M&G Real Estate to improve the energy efficiency of its UK shopping centre portfolio. Others include the roll-out of energy monitoring systems which were used at the Manchester Arndale centre to reduce electricity consumption by 30% since 2013.
In total, M&G Real Estate has achieved a 29% energy reduction across the shopping centres it has owned and managed since 2013, saving over £600,000 for both retailers and investor returns.