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Solar energy for marketplace

by Marco Cillario Thu 26 May 2016, 10:33 am

Hounslow Council has invested £2 million to install more than 6,000 solar panels on one of the three major wholesale fruit and vegetable markets in London to generate half the site’s required energy.

Eco-friendly photovoltaic panels have been placed on the two roofs of Western International Market in Southall to reduce CO2 emissions.

The installation was unveiled on 19 May: 6,069 panels will provide around 1.5 megawatts of electricity each year for the 80 market traders based at the site, which employ around 1,500 staff across two buildings – the produce hall (7,620sq m) and the flower hall (2,970sq m).

Built in 2008, the wholesale market is one of the highest consumers of electricity in the council, using the equivalent amount of around 1,750 homes.

The solar panels will reduce CO2 emissions by 780 tonnes.

Energy at the market is especially required early in the morning, when the panels are unable to generate electricity. Therefore, energy produced during daylight will be stored in lithium batteries to be used during the hours of darkness.

Charles Pipe, energy manager at Hounslow Council, said the council expected to make its investment back within seven years through energy savings. The benefits over the next 20 years are estimated at £7 million.

He added that the local authority was looking to make Western International Market a “carbon-zero” site, by generating the other half of the electricity needed through other renewable energy sources, such as wind.

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