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Three powerful reasons why more organisations are generating their own energy.

edie's new 'explains' report highlights why organisations are choosing to generate their own energy. In this piece Ian Hopkins adds his own perspective on these drivers and opportunities.

Ian Hopkins, Sales Director at Centrica Business Solutions, provides his insights on the energy industry, how it’s changing, and what that means for organisations thinking about generating their own energy.

Centrica Business Solutions has partnered with edie to publish their latest 'explains' report: On-site generation. The report highlights three powerful reasons why more organisations are reducing their dependence on the National Grid and generating their own energy.

1. Rising, highly volatile wholesale energy prices

Rising costs are driving businesses and public bodies to look at Solar, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and other on-site generation technologies to stabilise and reduce rising costs.

Solar power can be generated at substantially lower cost than grid purchased electricity, especially if it is paired with battery storage, while high efficiency CHP generation can reduce electricity costs by as much as 40%. The growing affordability of Solar and other on-site generation/storage solutions is increasing the financial attraction of these technologies.

By moving to self-generation, organisations gain protection from future commodity price rises and market volatility. They also have the flexibility to use on-site or stored electricity during peak times when wholesale prices are highest, then use supplementary grid power when prices are lowest. These flexible energy assets can also be monetised – to provide significant revenue via participation in Demand Side Response (DSR) schemes.

2. The serious threat from climate change

Organisations are increasingly realising they must improve their energy sustainability and play an active part in creating a lower carbon future for the UK. By generating 100% renewable Solar and wind power, or lower carbon heat and power from CHP, they can contribute to the UK's ambitious carbon reduction targets, meet their social responsibilities, and enhance their brand reputations.

New environmental regulations, such as the proposed new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting Regulations (SECR), mean that larger businesses must make their carbon performance visible through their company accounts.

You can read more about the opportunities for organisations to take action in our recent Powering sustainability Report.

3. The growing risk of energy-related failure

Grid instability and congestion, extreme weather, cybercrime and other threats, is driving the urgent need to improve energy resilience. Even the shortest one-second power disruption can cause grave operational and commercial damage.

CHP can be configured to run off- grid to bolster energy resilience, while batteries can store surplus power from CHP, wind and Solar, which can be switched on within a split-second in the event of a supply disruption.

On-site generation expertise

Centrica Business Solutions has installed more than 1,000 customised solar projects in the UK and as the UK's CHP market leader, we operate and maintain 600MW of cogeneration capacity. Among our customers are:

  • The Olde House farm and holiday retreat, where we've combined solar and battery storage as part of our Centrica Local Energy Market Project. This is dramatically increasing solar utilisation and reducing energy costs during peak evening times.
  • At Toyota's first European Model Sustainable Plant, at Burnaston, we've created the UK’s largest factory-connected Solar PV system, comprising 17,000 solar panels.
  • A leading UK fitness centre business is achieving total costs savings of £3m each year from the 75 CHP systems we've supplied.

Protecting CAPEX

Our financing options allow for immediate energy savings on both Solar and CHP, without any CAPEX spend. All design, installation, operation and maintenance costs are covered, with our investment repaid via a power purchase agreement that secures low-cost, stable energy bills over the lifetime of the assets.

If you are thinking about on-site generation to tackle some of the challenges outlined above, we have the expertise and understanding to help. Get in touch to find out more about how Centrica Business Solutions can power your onsite energy performance with solar and CHP.