Anesco partners with Premier Inn to deliver 238 rooftop solar schemes.
Premier Inn is the UK’s biggest hotel brand, with more than 750 hotels based across the UK & Ireland. The award-winning hotel chain is owned and operated by hospitality group Whitbread.
As part of Whitbread’s commitment to reducing their impact on the environment, Whitbread has set ambitious carbon reduction targets for each of its brands. For Premier Inn, improving the carbon footprint of its hotels by increasing energy efficiency and reducing the amount of electricity being taken from the grid, is a key focus.
This had led to a valuable, long term partnership being formed with Anesco.
A strong business case for improvements
Premier Inn started investigating ways to meet its carbon reduction targets. There needed to be a strong business case for any measures and improvements which might be made.
The overall aim for the hotel chain was to reduce its electricity costs and carbon emissions by making energy efficiency improvements. As well as using less energy, the team were keen to start generating their own renewable power.
The team approached Anesco for help in rolling out a portfolio of rooftop solar installations, which were to be installed at Premier Inn sites across the UK.
Solar – a visible sign of the company’s commitment to the environment
Solar was the perfect fit, as its use and installation would cause the minimal disruption to guests and the operational side of the business. It was felt that having solar panels on the roof would also be a visible sign of the company’s commitment to the environment.
Achieving the maximum benefit for the minimum cost
Anesco began by conducting a desktop study of the whole portfolio of Premier Inn sites, to assess which would be feasible and also the most beneficial sites, for solar to be fitted. It was important for Premier Inn that any installations achieved the maximum benefit for the minimum cost.
From the detailed information provided by Anesco, the Premier Inn team was able to build an investment case for the project, which was subsequently given the go-ahead.
At this stage, Anesco then visited each shortlisted site to conduct a detailed onsite survey and ensure all roof spaces were sound, while checking for any other issues, such as accessibility.
Both teams took a collaborative approach to the project, jointly pulling together a schedule and agreeing on the optimal site list – those which would generate the greatest returns for the least outlay.
Overcoming all operational challenges
A bespoke solar scheme needed to be designed for each site. Anesco ensured that each scheme would achieve the optimal benefit for Premier Inn, with elements such as size and orientation both taken into account.
Anesco worked closely with Premier Inn’s inhouse energy project manager on the delivery of the schemes. The first batch of solar schemes was installed in stages throughout 2013/14. Then in 2015, a further 44-site installation programme was carried out, which was completed in just 12 weeks.
By March 2020, following the most recent stage of the programme, a total of 238 sites had been fitted with solar by Anesco. Despite the end of government subsidies, the figures still add up and these recent installations remain a sound investment for Whitbread.
Project savings and benefits
The result has been that Premier Inn is taking a lot less electricity from the grid and is also receiving a monthly income via the government’s Feed in Tariffs. It is a financially sound project, which continues to justify itself through its carbon reduction benefits and impact on the chain’s carbon footprint.
Ensuring the optimal performance of the solar assets
Anesco’s operations and maintenance team is monitoring and maintaining Premier Inn’s full portfolio of solar sites. This includes sites which haven’t been installed by Anesco, such as those on new build hotels.
Premier Inn can access detailed information to see how well individual sites and the portfolio as a whole is performing. A detailed report is also provided to the team at agreed times, for use in their internal reporting requirements.
“Anesco’s responsiveness and ability to act quickly has been outstanding. The team has proven themselves again and again, with the various projects we have now completed together, and I have complete trust in them.
“Anesco delivered every installation in a very responsible way. The team is very good at listening to us, which is another reason our partnership is so strong. They will work around any on site issues, striking up a positive rapport with the hotel team and compromising and finding solutions whenever needed.
“A key benefit of Anesco’s comprehensive knowledge of all our Premier Inn sites, is that the team can act quickly when we need them to. The groundwork has already been done. So, if we want to introduce additional solar arrays within a short timeframe – such as to meet spending targets – they can quickly recommend which will be the best sites and complete the works, typically within just weeks of us asking.
“I can see that our sites are performing as predicted, or even higher. The information we have access to is also very helpful for our internal reporting procedures.
“Our relationship with Anesco is best described as a valued partnership and we maintain a strong ongoing relationship. I would highly recommend them, especially in terms of their ability to take on a project and how quickly they can deliver.”
- 238 rooftop solar schemes delivered
- Generating more than 4.3MW of renewable energy
- 1,300 tonnes of carbon annually
Our relationship with Anesco is best described as a valued partnership and we maintain a strong ongoing relationship. I would highly recommend them, especially in terms of their ability to take on a project and how quickly they can deliver.