A sustainability expert has urged the manufacturing sector to consider implementing solar photovoltaics (PV) in a bid to drive down energy costs and realise net zero ambitions. The 100% renewable energy source offsets the embodied carbon of the initial manufacturing process within just a few years and enables carbon-free electrical production and consumption.
Dr James Crosby, Head of Sustainability at Advantage Utilities was first to take the stage at The Sustainable Manufacturing Summit, one of several co-located events taking place during The Manufacturing and Supply Chain Conference on the 20th April at MK Arena in Milton Keynes, which attracted over 2,500 delegates.
During his talk, Dr Crosby revealed that solar PV panels, which produce electricity, are becoming an increasingly popular solution for commercial organisations looking to boost their onsite energy generation and efficiency – a key solution to the environmental and energy crisis.
One company that is already leading the way with solar PV-generated energy was referenced by Dr. Crosby during his talk – Kurt J. Lesker Company, a Hastings-based manufacturer and distributor of various technologies. The firm installed ~100kWp worth of solar PV panels to their roofs in Hastings, resulting in a levelised cost of energy (LCoE) of 5p/kWh. As a result, within the first year the company had made £25,687.20 worth of energy savings through reducing grid-sourced energy. Throughout the lifetime of the system – which is expected to last 25 years – savings of £513,265 can be expected through onsite generation.
“Manufacturers should note that the greenest form of energy generation is that which you generate yourself and it is also the most affordable method of consumption. In addition, the cheapest form of electricity is that which you do not consume at all. This is why onsite generation and onsite efficiency are the two most effective strategies for manufacturing companies who want to minimise energy costs and maximise energy sustainability,” he explained.
Dr Crosby emphasised that with energy prices likely to remain above pre-pandemic levels for at least the next 3-4 years, manufacturing businesses should focus on implementing smart-building solutions which will make their infrastructure more efficient.
“Now is the perfect time to explore the greener options available, given that Government incentives such as full expensing, allow businesses to invest into energy efficient machinery and equipment through year end profits. Businesses will not only benefit commercially from greener energy, they’ll be helping the industry as a whole to move closer towards net zero targets,” added Dr Crosby.