Cleaning technology provider, Kärcher, has taken a step in improving its environmental footprint throughout its supply chain by deploying 967 solar panels on its Banbury headquarters via an innovative funding model, thereby reducing its reliance on the National Grid.
The company expects to generate 44% of its annual electricity consumption through the solar array and over the next 25 years the solar PV system will contribute significant energy bill and carbon reductions. Working with leading renewable energy asset manager, Zestec, and their financing partner, NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF), an investment vehicle managed by NextEnergy Capital, Kärcher will now benefit from significantly reduced electricity bills, move closer to their environmental goals and achieve this without deploying any of its own capital.
A renewable vision
Kärcher has a clear vision of working to increase its environmental performance in its business activities and this project has seen NextEnergy Capital and Zestec support it to generate its own renewable energy onsite, reducing the sales, service, training and distribution hub’s energy bills and lowering its carbon impact.
Every year, the facility in Banbury distributes 1 million cleaning machines, ranging from its yellow pressure washers and window vacs to municipal street sweepers. Across the 270 strong team, the focus on energy management and reducing the volume of energy required, where every day 1,240kWh is consumed, is at the centre of the business.
To support UK businesses to adopt and embrace roof-mounted solar energy generation, NextEnergy Capital and Zestec combine their multi-decade experience to deploy their innovative Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) model. Using this funding model, so-called ' host' properties benefit from immediate reductions in electricity bills and reductions in carbon emissions, with no capital outlay, in return for use of the airspace above the roof over a defined period. The system has been designed so the company can maximise the consumption of the locally generated green solar electricity before needing to draw from the National Grid.
Mark Venner, chief operating officer for Kärcher, said, “We are absolutely delighted with the partnership between Zestec and NextEnergy Capital. We have a firm focus on our customer and putting the quality of our products at the heart of everything we do. We know that our climate is changing and we are determined to do everything we can to ensure our products have a responsible impact upon our environment. We have made the commitment to help preserve the world’s natural resources – across every element of our business operations from R&D concept to our entire supply chain. This project forms the cornerstone of this ambition at our headquarters and has enabled us to understand our energy demands more fully to manage the energy we generate and use.”
We always had solar in mind for our new headquarters in Banbury and the PPA model ticked two important boxes for us. Firstly, it puts responsibility for the installation and long-term maintenance in the hands of the experts, so we do not need to become experts in solar PV technology ourselves. Secondly, our capital is better deployed in additional warehouse stock than in a solar PV system; this funded model allows us to do both.”
Simon Booth, co-founder of Zestec, renewable energy asset managers, added, “Using our fully funded solar PPA model to help a global brand such as Kärcher enhance business resilience, whilst reducing energy bills and carbon emissions illustrates the important role that roof-mounted solar photovoltaic technology provides to UK business. A special mention goes to our installation partner, Solar Perfect, which ensured absolutely no disruption throughout the entire installation process, delivering another top-quality installation.”
Ross Grier, managing director for NextEnergy Capital commented, “We are very pleased to support Kärcher on their environmental ambitions and we know that the retail and distribution sectors are going to need to become more energy efficient in the coming years as we adapt to reduce our impact on climate change. Schemes such as this will become increasingly important as the cost of energy to the consumer continues to rise. At NextEnergy Capital, we are pleased to work with our colleagues at Zestec to provide innovative rooftop solar PPA solutions to the marketplace that allow others to take a long-term view on an element of their energy security whilst supporting their transition to a lower carbon world.”