ABP plans UK’s largest-ever commercial roof solar panel installation project


Associated British Ports is to install the UK’s largest-ever volume of solar panels onto commercial rooftops with the help of a three-year contract signed with Chesterfield firm Custom Solar.

Custom Solar will install solar assets at the organisation’s 21 ports across England, Scotland and Wales over the next three years helping significantly reduce its CO2 emissions as well as its dependency on the national grid supplied electricity and playing a key role in ABP’s sustainable approach.

As part of the deal the company will also support ABP in identifying suitable areas for panel installation in order to decrease individual ports’ reliance on external power sources and increase resilience at various port sites. Already ABP has invested in 8 megawatts of solar assets, covering approximately 20 acres, installed across 15 ports in the UK, designed to supply its ports, customers, and the national grid with clean, zero-emission power. Custom Solar will undertake a further 4.5megawatt installation between now and March 2018.

Chris Garton Director, Asset Management at ABP said: “We look forward to building a strong working relationship with Customer Solar as we further develop our installed base of solar generation. Our existing 8 megawatts of generation has already made a major impact on reducing emissions from our operations and reducing our cost of energy.”

Mitchells Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers assisted Custom with the tendering process, preparing cash flow forecasts for the business in order to demonstrate affordability and lay the foundation for potential future financing options and projects.

Andrew McDaid, partner at Mitchells explained: “The team and I have worked with custom Solar since 2014 and we are delighted to see the business not only grow but flourish in what have been challenging market conditions in recent years, highlighting the level of service, experience and technical capability that Custom Solar is able to offer. The adoption of such a large scale commercial installation by ABP based on the return on investment, just demonstrates that solar is still very much a cost-effective solution for businesses.”

Matthew Brailsford, MD of Custom Solar, said: “Mitchells has been great in what was a complicated process that involved a lot of number crunching. Working with us, they helped us plan and forecast, gaining a concrete understanding of the numbers involved.”

He added: “Securing a framework contract with a major organisation such as ABP is a real testament to the dedicated and detailed work of our team and enhances the strength and stability of our company.

“It further builds on what has already been a very positive year for the business which has seen us deliver commercial projects and securing framework positions with multiple authorities. Additionally, we have significantly increased our operations and management business, supporting clients with existing systems to maximise their generation and energy savings. This has provided solid financial stability for the company via long term revenue streams and enabled a platform for us to develop our activities into other technology such as battery storage and electric charge points.”