Solar-panels on warehouse roofs

The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has hit out at the government’s revised plan for achieving net zero, as it does not include solar panels on Britain’s 75 million sq metres of warehouse roofing.

Plans for achieving net zero targets by 2050, enshrined in UK law, were described as inadequate by environmental groups which took the government to court. The court agreed and forced a revision of the proposals.

However, experts claim the government may find itself back in court as the revised plans “look very similar to the originals”, proposing just a major uptick in carbon capture and storage (CCS). Scientists have explained that CCS has not been tested at scale and thus is an unknown quantity at the levels of storage that would be required.

The UKWA had raised the potential from using warehouse roofs to provide enough cheap solar energy to meet the government’s 2030 interim target.

A report last year showed UK warehouses furnished with solar panels could provide 15GW, doubling the UK’s solar capacity, while saving 2m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and saving the warehousing sector around £3bn a year. It would mean the sector would become a net energy producer.

UKWA CEO Clare Bottle told The Loadstar the UK grid was designed for the 1940s and 1950s and claimed: “The district network operators [which control access to the grid] are a law unto themselves; they say they will do things, but don’t do anything.”

According to Ms Bottle, to achieve an upgrade of the grid there is a need for government investment, as “the private sector is just not going to make it happen”.

The UKWA will be represented at an Energy Forum on 5 April, where Ms Bottle said, she would raise these issues with the government again.

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