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Rolls-Royce to offset energy bills via rooftop solar project

A 3.42MW rooftop solar installation has been completed atop Rolls-Royce’s Bristol factory which will help the engineering giant offset future increases in its energy bills.

The install, completed by solar company Belectric UK, is expected to generate 3GWh of electricity each year and realise “immediate savings” for Rolls-Royce.

It was financed by Rockfire Capital through a 25-year power purchase agreement under which Rolls-Royce will purchase all generated electricity at a rate cheaper than that on offer commercially.

The project was almost shelved after government cuts to renewable subsidies, but all three parties collaborated to rebalance the project and ensure it still produced an acceptable return on investment without subsidy support.

Tim Sullivan, director of energy and property compliance at Rolls-Royce, revealed that the project would not have gone ahead without the determination of both his company and Belectric.

“This project had many twists and turns during its development. Belectric’s development representatives were always highly professional, adaptable and willing to find the right solution for Rolls-Royce,” he added. 

Toddington Harper, chief executive at Belectric UK, said his company were “undeterred” by the government cuts and had worked hard to deliver a commercial rooftop that is independent of subsidy.

“We are delighted with the result we achieved with Rolls-Royce and Rockfire - a commercially viable large-scale solar power plant that is not dependent on subsidy and generates clean electricity and offsets carbon emissions on a meaningful scale. Furthermore, we believe this ‘UK first’ sets an exciting precedent and path forwards for how we can continue to deliver solar energy in the UK,” he said.