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Bywaters Complete Largest Retrofit Solar PV Array In East London

Leading recycling and resource management business, Bywaters, recently completed the largest Solar PV array fitted to an existing London building at its Materials Recycling Facility in Bow, East London.

Bywaters’ Managing Director, John Glover, discusses why the investment makes both commercial and social sense.

I am extremely proud that we are able to provide Londoners with a service that helps them improve their environmental performance.  By minimising the amount of waste we send to landfill and maximising the availability of valuable secondary resources we are able to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pressure on the earth’s primary resources and help build more sustainable supply chains for the future. It is however an unfortunate truth that the mechanical processing technology required to achieve this improvement is relatively energy intensive.  

After our wage bill, energy is our second biggest cost. As a result energy consumption is always pretty high on my radar!  But it is not just the financial implication of our energy use that concerns me.  With so many of our employees living locally Bywaters has always been acutely aware of our role in society and the need to make London a better place for Londoners.  The issues surrounding climate change are well documented and recent ‘Toxic Air’ headlines in the Evening Standard indicate that air quality is becoming an increasing concern. In fact, in a recent YouGov poll 7 out of 10 parents in London said they were worried about the impact of air pollution on their children and ranked air pollution as one of the biggest health threats facing Londoners today.

Our latest initiative has seen us find an innovative use for the roof of our flagship recycling facility in Bow, which is licenced to process 650,000 tonnes of material a year.  Here we recently completed London’s largest Solar PV retrofit, installing over 4,000 panels.  Power generated goes straight into the grid before being fed back into the building and the 1000kWp solar PV (photovoltaic) array provides enough to power daytime power for the whole facility.

The installation of solar PV will stabilise our energy supply and reduce our future carbon emissions and energy costs by around 45%.  The investment is also an important demonstration of our commitment to developing a sustainable business and improving our own environmental performance.  The array will save around 320 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum, which is equivalent to powering 237 homes for a year.

There continues to be a common misconception that ‘doing the right thing costs money’.  However, in common with effective waste and recycling solutions the adoption of a more sustainable approach to our energy provision has enabled us to realise both commercial and environmental improvements benefiting our business, our customers and the community of which we are part.


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