LaSalle Investment Management, advised by Knight Frank, has installed a 277 kWp photovoltaic (PV) array at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, Hartlepool. The project was turned around in a tight timeframe to benefit from the Government’s Feed-in Tariffs before 2016 reductions came into force.
261,200 kWh OF RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY GENERATED EACH YEAR
11% PA RETURN ON INVESTMENT OVER 20 YEARS
2,300 TONNES CO2 SAVING OVER 20 YEARS
LaSalle Investment Management is a leading real estate investment management firm, which aims to reduce environmental impacts across its portfolio and operations. Knight Frank is the world’s largest privately owned real estate consultancy. Its dedicated Energy and Sustainability Team advises on a range of areas, including renewables. Knight Frank works with LaSalle Investment Management on multiple projects.
When the Government announced in August 2015 planned reductions to Feed-in Tariffs from January 2016, LaSalle Investment Management commissioned Knight Frank to carry out PV feasibility studies on two assets, keen to capture opportunities before the reductions and reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions at their properties. This supports LaSalle Investment Management’s efforts to reduce environmental impacts across its investment portfolio and business operations. The review at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre in Hartlepool showed a strong business case.
Knight Frank has delivered over 30 PV projects. The team tendered the Middleton Grange project and chose contractor Soventix GmbH, a well-established solar PV contractor, able to complete the project within the tight timeframe. All the details of the project were agreed and approvals in place by 24 December 2015. Soventix started on site on 5 January 2016, supported by the Centre team and JLL, managing agent for Middleton Grange. The panels were successfully installed across four roof areas and commissioned before Feed-in Tariff changes came into force on 15 January 2016. Soventix is responsible for monitoring and operating the facility.
Financials and benefits
The PV array is part of Middleton Grange’s wider sustainability programme, which includes:
How to overcome technical challenges?
Middleton Grange is located on the north east coast, which meant that robust panels and a high quality mounting frame were required for coastal conditions, as they can include high winds and salt corrosion. Post installation, the team is looking at installing features such as netting to minimise fouling of the panels by gulls. The roof space is also flat, which made the installation slightly more complex and expensive than it would have been on a pitched roof, as ballasts were needed to hold the panels down. The condition of the roof needed to be assessed before the panels were installed. Over the 20-year lifespan of the array, the contract at Middleton Grange allows for the contractor to move and replace all the panels once to allow for roof maintenance and resurfacing if needed.
How to progress installation in tight timeframes?
Changes to the UK planning system in recent years have mostly been in favour of renewables, with Permitted Development Rights applied to PV schemes on commercial roofs since April 2012. For the array at Middleton Grange, this meant the team did not need to apply for planning consent, only notify the local authority, based on the array not being within 1m of the roof edge, not projecting more than 20cm from the flat roof and not exceeding 1 megawatt generation capacity. The contractor, Soventix, pre-booked the mounting frames, panels and workforce, so that everything was ready to go as soon as the project was confirmed. The roof was landlord demise and there was no impact on site operations, so occupier agreement was not needed.
James Smith, National Director at LaSalle Investment Management Situation
“In addition to the financial and environmental benefits of PV, it is an exceptionally worthwhile initiative for a building like Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, which attracts millions of visits each year. People today are increasingly interested in what companies are doing and investment in renewables sends a powerful, positive message.”