A recommendation shone the light on solar PV
Quickgrind is an internationally renowned engineering manufacturer specialising in the design and manufacture of carbide tools. Their production requires some 1.2 million units of electricity per annum as their tooling machines and robotics are able to work 24/7.
Quickgrind operate with an ethos of constant innovation, otherwise known as the Japanese principle of Kaizen. From small process changes to major projects, each change helps to progress the company. Knowing that their carbon footprint was high because of the nature of their business, Quickgrind realised that solar PV presented the perfect opportunity for them to reduce their environmental impact and energy costs significantly. What's more, the company's electricity bills had increased tremendously over a 3-year period alone, and this overhead was only going one way...up!
Ross Howell, Managing Director at Quickgrind, along with Commercial Manager, Tim Darch, started looking for ways to reduce their electricity consumption across the company. Ross received a recommendation from a satisfied Mypower customer and, although Quickgrind had looked at solar PV previously, it gave them the confidence to look again at the opportunities offered by solar PV.
Making the most of the roof space
Mypower presented Quickgrind with various system options. Their roof space, complete with sky lights, allowed for 164kw of solar panels - but with such a high energy usage, all of the solar generation would be used on site. Ben Harrison, Managing Director at Mypower, had another suggestion - to cover the redundant skylights (no longer required because Quickgrind had upgraded their lighting to LEDs), which would allow for an extra 30kw of solar PV to be installed. Ben developed the idea to replace the roof lights with metal sheets spanning the 2m wide rooflights rather than an expensive fixing system. His proposal saved Quickgrind £8,000 on roof improvements, while adding another 30kw of solar would save even more on electricity bills. Ben even sourced a roofing contractor to cover the skylights.
Key facts and predictions
The benefits from solar PV to Quickgrind were impressive without a grant but even more so with...
- 194.04 kWp (588 Panels) - installed by Mypower.
- 169,779 kWh - units of energy produced per annum.
- £26,389 - first year income and savings.
- 19.7% (28.2% with grant) - first year ROI.
- £1,143,002 - 25 year income and savings after indexation.
- 4.91 p/kWh (3.9 p/kWh with grant) - equivalent purchase price of electricity over 25 years, including operating and maintenance costs.
- 56 tonnes - CO2 emissions avoided per annum.
- 4.9 years (3.5 years with grant) - payback before finance, tax and capital allowance benefits.
- 15.7p/kWh: 69% (75% with grant) - solar PV electricity savings compared to grid supplied electricity.
Grant funding was the icing on the cake
Quickgrind were deliberating solar when Ben Harrison (Mypower) heard about a new grant available for businesses in Gloucestershire to help reduce carbon emissions across the county. The 30% grant, called Target2030, was available to SMEs to help reduce their energy consumption and give them a more sustainable future. For Quickgrind, receiving this grant meant an impressive 20% ROI increased to 28%, with and overall savings from solar PV increasing to a staggering 75%! As Quickgrind needed to go through a tender process for the grant, Mypower advised them to advertise the opportunity on the grant funders web site and to speak to other Solar PV installers in order to get three or more quotes. It's not often a business tells a customer to speak to its competitors - but our honesty and customer service are core values, so we were happy to help Quickgrind to formulate a tender document and to support them through the grant application process. The grant saved Quickgrind £40,000.
Complete transparency on everything
"I’m a big advocate of continuous improvement and even small changes can make a big difference. Our energy consumption is high and we are very conscious of the environmental impact this has and of course it’s a large overhead cost for us. We’ve implemented small but significant changes like programming our machines to operate in the most energy efficient way but our Solar PV installation has made the biggest impact. Investing in solar PV, was a way to do our part towards building a better future for the environment and the community".
Reducing their carbon footprint
Quickgrind's Solar PV installation means they will avoid 56 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, forming a key part of the initiative to minimise their environmental impact. Future developments include electric vans, Polyethylene (PE) tool packaging made from sugarcane, and increasing recycling efforts among other small incremental investments/improvements.
"Ben [MD for Mypower] really put forward the case for Mypower and Solar PV with several options of system sizes and products, giving complete transparency on everything. The grant process was very easy and straightforward with Mypower's help. Mypower's team on site were excellent and caused no disruption to the business and the whole project was managed and communicated to us exceptionally well"
Tim Darch, Commercial Manager - Quickgrind Ltd
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