B&Q Upgrades Solar Panels with Batteries

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Home improvements giant B&Q will soon make some upgrades to its property estate, with energy storage technology.

The company’s distribution centre in Swindon will see its power use cut by almost a third, thanks to the plans to install battery technology on site.

Used alongside existing rooftop solar panels and a biomass boiler and chipper, parent company Kingfisher aims to cut grid consumption by 31%.

B&Q CEO Christian Mazauric said that battery storage would contribute to the company’s goal of cutting its carbon footprint by 90% by 2023. It will also bring down costs and protect the company’s energy security.

“The installation of energy storage batteries at the Swindon distribution centre marks an important milestone in our and Kingfisher’s commitment to reduce grid energy consumption,” he said.

“UK energy prices aren’t going down. Battery energy storage will help us to better manage the energy we generate on site and will move us even closer to our sustainability goals.”

Battery power is a key part of Kingfisher’s overarching plans to become a net positive business – one that generates more power than it uses – by 2050.

The parent company created its first net zero energy store in Peterborough, using a combination of solar panels, battery storage and air source heat pumps to generate and store power for the Screwfix store, before passing any surplus energy back to the grid.

It has also installed solar panels and air source heat pumps across a range of stores and distribution centres in the UK.

Eight batteries will be installed at the Swindon site by early September. Each battery will have a capacity of 94.5kW and together they will store 40% of the power generated by the building’s 552 solar panels.

Power stored in the batteries will be used to power night time operations at the site and charge electric cars.

“This investment at our Swindon distribution centre reflects our wider approach to energy strategy to help both our business and our customers improve energy efficiency,” said Jason Parsons, head of energy and renewables at Kingfisher Plc in a statement.

“Indeed, many of the energy saving initiatives we have undertaken in our stores and distribution centres are also being considered by our customers. For example, we are seeing more customers installing solar PVs and moving to battery storage to harness that power for their homes.”

Earlier this year, Kingfisher announced plans to open a new 375,000 square foot distribution centre next to the existing B&Q centre. The new site, which is due to open in February 2019, will be connected to the same renewable heating system. It will also incorporate rooftop solar panels and have beehives in the surrounding grounds.

From April next year, large businesses in the UK will be forced to report their power use, carbon emissions and energy efficiencies in their annual reports.

Introduced by the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the new scheme replaces the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, “which was too complex for businesses,” according to Reuters.

The new regulations will apply to any UK-based company with more than 250 employees or an annual turnover in excess of £36m.

The policy is part of the government’s drive to make businesses and industry improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2030.

Header image by Matt Anderson under Creative Commons.