11 November 2014

Energy sector experts from Burges Salmon have advised Marks & Spencer (M&S) in relation to the rooftop solar panel array to be installed on its state of the art distribution centre at Castle Donington.

At 6.1 MW, this is the largest commercial solar rooftop system of its kind in the UK and the Burges Salmon team, led by partner Nick Churchward with assistance from associate Sam Sandilands, advised M&S on the energy-based legal agreements underpinning the project. M&S's in house team advised on the real estate aspects of the deal and worked closely with the Burges Salmon team who advised on the private wire Power Purchase Agreement between the solar developer and M&S under which electricity will be supplied to the distribution centre and the ‘spill PPA’ with npower for excess electricity to be exported to the grid.

M&S is currently developing the solar rooftop to power its East Midlands Distribution Centre in Castle Donington, Leicestershire. The power from the array is anticipated be live early in 2015 and, subject to M&S demand, will be bought exclusively by M&S through a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Director of property at M&S Hugo Adams said: “This further enhances the sustainability credentials of our BREEAM Excellent Castle Donington site. Coupled with one of Europe’s largest solar thermal walls, the new solar PV system will make the building one of the most sustainable distribution centres in the world.”

Giacinto Patellaro, M&S Head of Energy Supply & Risk, said: 'Burges Salmon played a crucial role in the commercial-legal development of our Castle Donington solar roof project, specifically the Power Purchase Agreement. The instalment of the UK’s largest solar panel array is another step for M&S reaching its goal of becoming the most sustainable retailer in the world.'

Leading developer and advisor on infrastructure projects, Amber Infrastructure, will fund and supply the system, which was designed by engineering and consultancy company SBC Renewables. The system will be constructed by energy saving organisation, Mark Group.

Nick Churchward said: “The Solar PV Strategy launched in April this year clearly outlined the Government's desire to encourage growth in the solar sector away from big, freestanding solar farms and towards large buildings becoming 'solar hubs'. This impressive development shows M&S's continued commitment to smart, sustainable business and we were very pleased to advise the M&S team on yet another market leading project with such clear financial and sustainability benefits to its procurement, logistics and real estate business areas.”

This latest advice for M&S from the Burges Salmon Energy team builds on the work it carried out in September 2014, advising on its sector-leading use of biomethane that saw M&S become the first retailer in the UK to purchase Biomethane Gas Certificates.”

Key contact

Nick Churchward

Nick Churchward Partner

  • Head of Resource and Waste Management
  • Projects
  • Energy and Utilities

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