How SOL PV helped Central Co-op become a greener business

SOL PV has become a standout in the renewable energy industry and is helping organisations like Central Co-op to achieve their sustainability goals

SOL PV Group is an established name in the ever-growing solar sector, specialising in the installation of solar PV panels.

While an increasing number of requests for projects on the ground are flooding in, the company’s bread and butter remains the commercial rooftop sector. 

Very few large installers in the UK are doing similar work to the same standards, making SOL PV a standout in its field. 

“It’s an exciting time for renewables,” says Brett Reynolds, Sales Director at SOL PV, who has been in the industry since 2011. 

“I’ve got a good understanding of the market and where it’s going; there’s been a lot of change and things will continue to evolve over the next decade.”

Forming a partnership with Central Co-op

Reynolds’ role involves looking after all incoming sales generation and, despite being based in West Yorkshire, SOL PV receives enquiries from businesses across the country.

In early 2022 a significant opportunity arose when Central Co-op invited SOL PV to tender a couple of trial sites with a view to rolling out solar capabilities across its portfolio. 

The trials, at Dersingham in Norfolk and Weeping Cross, proved successful and ultimately resulted in the go-ahead for installation at 180 Co-op sites, including small convenience stores, larger shops and funeral homes. 

To demonstrate the project’s success, the aforementioned trial locations are already producing an energy yield which is 10-15% greater than originally predicted. 

“We’re very much focused on quality products and materials because, for us, it’s all about safety,” adds Reynolds. “We’re using one of the safest systems on the market – the SolarEdge optimised inverter system – which allows us to monitor what each panel is producing hour by hour. 

“Supermarkets open seven days a week are fantastic models for utilising solar because they’re using 90-100% of what they generate from those panels.

“Everyone’s very happy because we’re making greater savings and a quicker return on investment for the Co-op.”

A good time to go green

The casual observer might imagine the commercial solar market has been thriving in recent years but, in truth, it’s been far from an easy ride. 

Reynolds calls the nine-year period from 2010 to 2019 – when the government imposed feed-in tariffs – a “solar coaster”, reflecting the relentless ups and downs enjoyed and endured by the industry. 

The scheme, which saw customers being paid for the energy they exported to the National Grid, resulted in a mad rush from the public for solar panel installation, but proved a “nightmare” for firms like SOL PV due to it being completely out of their hands. 

“Since that ended it’s been a different landscape,” comments Reynolds. “We’re very much a mature market now and we can stand on our own two feet. 

“There are two factors stimulating the commercial marketplace: the rise in energy prices and this requirement for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. That combined with the reduction in price of materials means solar has become a fantastic addition to commercial buildings and we’re seeing extremely favourable ROIs on these systems.”

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