Do you do all sizes of projects?

We are specialists in the Industrial and Commercial market (I&C) and therefore generally work with customers who use either a minimum of 400,000kWH of electricity annually at any one site or around £100k of annual spend per site. Typical projects are on roofs no smaller than 600m2. However, we do work with businesses that have 5+ sites that have smaller roofs but when you add up their consumption/spend they are spending £200k+ per year and 1gWh of energy. If you’re in doubt then please get in touch with our team who will be happy to discuss and establish if your project qualifies.

If I can’t afford to fund the project, what are my options?

Most of our customers don’t have the spare money to invest in a large solar project so therefore we fund the project and also the ongoing operation and maintenance through a Power Purchase Agreement which means we own the project and you buy the energy from the project over a long term contract – typically 15-25 years in length.

As the sun doesn’t shine much in the UK, and certainly not in my area, is solar an option for me?

You’d be surprised how much energy can be produced off projects throughout the UK. Yes the output is usually higher in the south of the UK but we do projects through the UK and Northern Ireland and we have done great projects in Scotland where the sun typically shines less. The technology for solar has become very efficient and can therefore be used in areas not usually known for their sunshine!

I’ve done some research and there is so many different types of solar equipment and technology. How do you decide what to use?

We always work with Tier 1 panel manufacturers which means they are of the highest quality and standards and also are a key partner for SolarEdge who are regarded as the premium and high-safety inverter manufacturer. However, we are technology agnostic which means we’ll use the correct technology dependent on the project. If we are funding the project then it’s in our best interest to use the best technology because the more power we produce the more you can buy from us.

What planning permission do we need to obtain to do a solar project?

Recently planning on roof mount projects has been replaced with permitted development which means the project just needs to go through an administrative process to be approved. We undertake this work on your behalf. In terms of ground mount and carport projects then planning would be needed but again we support you on undertaking that work.

What other permissions and studies do we need to undertake to deliver a solar project?

It is totally dependent on the project and where it is but we’ll undertake a structural roof survey if it is a roof mount project. If it is ground mount then we may need to do environmental studies. And if near a major road, airport or residential area we might need to do a glint and glare assessment. Whatever is needed, we manage all of this on your behalf.

How can the local grid constraints stop me from implementing a solar project?

The local grid (DNO) has generally throughout the country been underinvested and therefore there might be issues connecting to the grid. Even if you don’t plan to export any energy from your grid and use it all on-site we have to connect it to the grid and we will put in a G99 application on your behalf during the project design. There are 6 x DNO areas and all work very different but we have great relationships with them all as we speak to them regularly so we can manage the projects and understand if there are any issues with connecting and try and resolve them. Most of the time there isn’t any issue, sometimes they’ll allow us to connect but not export and sometimes there might be some local infrastructure upgrade costs which we can model into the project costs. Again, all are managed by us and we’ll talk you through any issues as and when they arise.

How will our business integrate solar energy into our existing energy infrastructure and systems?

We will integrate the system into your electrical infrastructure to ensure that the priority of your site is to use the power from the solar panels and then if not enough, or not being generated (e.g. night time) then the rest is taken off the grid. This all works seamlessly and we work with your onsite team to allow them to get comfortable with any electrical infrastructure changes.

What are the environmental benefits of solar energy, and how can we use them for our corporate sustainability goals?

You are producing 100% renewable energy on your site for your site and therefore you are immediately reducing your carbon footprint. Throughout the process we forecast your carbon reduction and then when the project is implemented, you can accurately report your carbon reduction through reports and dashboards that you have access to.

How do we assess the site suitability for solar panel installation, including factors like roof orientation, shading, and structural integrity?

Fortunately that is our expertise. All of that is assessed throughout our discussions and initially all we need is our HH data, your energy bills and understand your site layout which we can talk through on a call.

What is the expected return on investment (ROI) for our solar project, including payback period and long-term savings on energy bills?

It depends on whether you fund it or we fund it. If you decide to fund it, it will depend on how much you are paying for your electricity currently. If you average out the last 5 year price then typically payback is 5-7 years. If we fund it you are not investing any capital and just securing a cheap price for a large chunk of your power demand. The price you pay is dependent on a number of things including where you are in the country, the size of the project, the cost of technology in a market where prices change etc – typically our PPA prices are anywhere between 10-16p/kwh which is much cheaper than buying it off of the grid.

What maintenance and monitoring requirements are associated with solar panel systems, and how do we ensure optimal performance and efficiency?

When the project is operational you have access to a portal which shows your energy production in real time. If we fund the project we ensure the project is operational at all times to ensure we can continue selling electricity to you. If you fund it then we can either do your ongoing operation and maintenance for an extra fee or you can find another company to do this.

What are the warranties and guarantees provided by solar panel manufacturers and installation companies?

If we fund the project all warranties and guarantees sit with us and we ensure your project is 100% operational to ensure we continue to sell you power and recoup our investment. If you fund it then the guarantees vary dependent on technology provider but will range from 10-25 years in length.

How will the installation of solar panels affect our insurance coverage and premiums?

This will ultimately be determined by your own insurance provider but in our experience, it doesn’t impact them greatly.

We lease our building. What are our options?

We work with customers who own their properties, lease their properties from their landlord or even landlords directly. We will work with you and support you in those discussions with your landlord. As solar improves the EPC rating of any building, we find most landlords are supportive of solar projects. A key question we ask is what is your lease length, especially if we fund it, as we need to understand you’ll be at the building for a period of time. If your landlord pays the power bill and then passes the cost onto you, then we’re happy to still talk to you and then we can discuss directly with the landlord on your behalf.

What are the safety considerations associated with solar panel installation and operation, including fire risks and electrical hazards?

Health and Safety is extremely important to Shawton Energy. We have a Heath & Safety team that ensures all projects are designed and installed safely and the ongoing maintenance and operation is done 100% safely. We work with your team to identify potential risks and install certain technology to allow you to shut off the equipment and power production if ever needed.

How will our solar project impact our business operations and productivity during installation and ongoing maintenance?

We work around your schedules and work patterns be it a college out of term time, around shift patterns in manufacturing or when guests are less likely to be at the hotel. Each business will have different requirements but we are used to putting in an install schedule around these kinds of issues. Ongoing maintenance does not interrupt any power demand on site.

Is it complicated to export excess solar energy to the national grid?

Dependent on whether you can export excess energy or not then monetising export power is a great way to increase the ROI of a project. We typically design the project based on your demand so it will have little to no export as we find this is the best commercial way to design a project as opposed to others than want to fill your roof with solar. If you do have energy to export and are able to then we can either manage on your behalf or introduce you to an energy supplier who will buy the excess off of you. The price you can get from that export will depend on day, time and market conditions.

We have a massive car park. Is there a way of utilising this space?

Yes! Carports are becoming more and more popular as a way to create energy, promote renewable energy as they are highly visible and also have secondary benefits like shade/cover on the cars. This solution also works nicely with EV charging and we work with a partner who can support us in exploring this. It will depend on the size of the project but currently, it makes more commercial sense if you have a minimum of 75 parking spaces if it is a standalone project and not blended with a roof/ground project.

We have spare land that we don’t intend to build on so is this a space that can be used as well as our roofs?

Yes! Ground mount projects work just as well as roof mount projects. They’re slightly more expensive in terms of the installation and can be slightly more tricky to design but it is a great way to utilise dead space on your premises. If you have a great relationship with an adjacent owner of land we can also discuss with them an arrangement around leasing their land and providing you the power from a project next door.

How long is the contract and why is it so long?

Typical projects are 15-25 years if you do a PPA project through us. As we are investing the Capex and ongoing Opex for the project then we are recouping our investment through you purchasing the power from the solar project at a p/kwh. The shorter the term then the higher the price so that is why typically customers go for the longer terms to get the price down however some customers want shorter lengths to coincide with lease end dates.

Who owns the solar project and whose balance sheet is it on?

When it is a PPA project, Shawton Energy retain ownership of the project for the length of the contract and it sits on our balance sheet. However it is worth speaking to your auditors around the balance sheet treatment.

What happens to the project at the end of the contract?

At the end of the contract, we can either remove the project from your property and recycle the equipment or we can hand the project over to you for nothing. Typically a solar project is 85% efficient after 25 years so most customers retain the project and then just extend the operation and maintenance contract out with us to ensure the array is fully operational.

Does the price of the electricity I buy from you on the PPA stay fixed for the duration of the contract?

We apply a year-on-year increase and will usually be based on CPI or RPI.

How long does this process take from initial exploration to getting renewable power from the installed panels?

It depends on your own internal decision-making structures as we can work very quickly with you. Once you have sent us data then it takes a week to put together a desktop proposal.  Technical site visit is usually a month or so after first contact. G99 application does take 3 months. Legal discussions can take a month. So most customers from start to contract signature usually takes 6 months. Then depending on the size of the project the installation can be anywhere between 2-12 weeks. We’ll talk you through this in our discussions depending on your own project.

What assurances have we got that your business will be around for the duration of the contract?

The Shawton Group has been trading since 1986. We have also recently had a 50% acquisition of our business by Lazard Investments. A Wall Street bank and Pension fund, this has the size and credibility to give all of our customers comfort that we are a reputable and long-standing business. Ultimately in the unfortunate circumstance that both businesses were to disappear, you have fully operational assets on your roof that are producing power.

Do I have to buy a certain amount of energy off of you?

As we size the project to your demand then we require you to buy all electricity that is produced from the panels. Any excess can be exported and you can monetise that additional power.

Will the PPA cost be a fixed price for the term of the contract?

The price of the power purchased is fixed and will only increase annually in line with the Retail Price Index. Furthermore, the tariff will only be payable on electricity generated by the PV system.

Is the system insured, and will it affect my own insurance premium?

We will insure the system at no cost to you. As the asset is third-party owned, your premium should not increase.

Will the installation disrupt my business?

There will be minimal disruption to your business as most of the installation takes place outside.  Our experienced operations team will work with you to ensure that internal works proceed without disruption.

Why Choose Us

Seamless Journey

We are with you at every step of the solar journey from initial plans to the permitting, paperwork and flawless installation.

On time & Accurate Budget Policy

Shawton Energy has an “on time and accurate budget” policy for construction and delivery of solar projects optimised to deliver efficient output.

Quality Installations

Our team has the experience and expertise to make sure that your system is the right size for your needs and engineered and installed correctly.

Save Money

The Shawton team will help you make a plan which perfectly suits your energy consumption and will help you reduce your electricity bills.

Our Partners

“Shawton Energy have been delightful to work with and clearly value the added benefits that the SolarEdge solution provides. Having seen their plan ahead, we are excited about the forthcoming projects and look forward to strengthening this ongoing rewarding partnership.”

Nick Blampied

SolarEdge Commercial Account Manager – UK

Our Accreditations

solar Energy UK
Construction Line

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Your journey starts with a single call or e-mail. Contact our team to organise a meeting. Together, we’ll establish how your organisation will achieve true net zero.

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