Kingfisher supercharges renewable energy ambitions with battery storage

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Kingfisher plc, the international home improvement company, has unveiled plans to install energy storage batteries at B&Q’s Swindon distribution centre. The installation is the latest milestone in Kingfisher’s strategic roadmap for sustainable growth to 2025 and moves the company towards its goal of becoming a net positive business by 2050.

Solarcentury, Kingfisher’s renewable energy partner, will manage the installation with batteries supplied by Samsung. The system will complement an existing biomass boiler and chipper which will provide renewable heat for the site.

These installations form a key part of Kingfisher’s aim to reduce grid energy consumption across its UK property portfolio. They will help the company reduce its overall carbon emissions whilst controlling its cost base and delivering commercial returns. Kingfisher already purchases 100% of its UK electricity from renewable sources.

Reducing grid power consumption by almost a third

Kingfisher’s Swindon distribution centre uses 3.5MW of power per year on average and is already powered by solar energy from 552 rooftop solar panels. Currently, around 35% of the power generated by the solar panels at the site is exported back to the grid as surplus. The energy storage batteries will mean that this energy can be stored and released back to the building to provide power during periods of peak pricing. The timed release of energy can also support its overnight operations, when the solar panels are dormant. The batteries will reduce the site’s grid power consumption by 31%, with some days where zero grid energy will be used to power the site.

Christian Mazauric, CEO of B&Q UK & Ireland, said: “Ten years ago B&Q committed to cutting its absolute carbon footprint by 90% – we have to-date achieved 41% carbon reduction and cut our electricity demand by 47%. The installation of energy storage batteries at the Swindon distribution centre marks an important milestone in our and Kingfisher’s commitment to reduce grid energy consumption. UK energy prices aren’t going down. Battery energy storage will help us to better manage the energy we generate on site and will move us even closer to our sustainability goals.”

Powering electric car charging points for customers

The batteries will be supplied by Samsung and each rack is the size of a large domestic fridge-freezer. Each one has a capacity of 94.5KW, with the total planned capacity equating to 756KW. The batteries will be able to store 40% of the power generated by the solar roof panels. The system will also power electric car charging points in the car park. Solarcentury will project manage the installation, and its ongoing maintenance and monitoring systems. The project is expected to be completed in early September 2018.

The biomass boiler and chipper, supplied by Austrian company Fröling, provides 100% renewable heat for the site, heating the offices and meeting the building’s hot water needs. About 180 tonnes of waste wood will fuel the boiler each year, including a large volume of the site’s own wood waste. The biomass boiler will replace 600,000 kWh of gas consumption per year.

Jeremy Parsons, head of energy and renewables, Kingfisher, said: “This investment at our Swindon distribution centre reflects our wider approach to energy strategy to help both our business and our customers improve energy efficiency. Indeed, many of the energy saving initiatives we have undertaken in our stores and distribution centres are also being considered by our customers. For example, we are seeing more customers installing solar PVs and moving to battery storage to harness that power for their homes”.