Huge new development announced for Galleries shopping centre in Washington

A huge solar panel system is to be installed on the roof of a Wearside shopping centre and help cut energy costs at the site, it has been announced.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 10:56 am
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 11:02 am
The Galleries shopping centre, in Washington.

M&G Real Estate says that it will be investing in the installation of the UK’s largest shopping centre solar panel system on the roof of The Galleries shopping centre in Washington.

The system, being installed over the coming weeks, will feature 1,317 individual photovoltaic panels, covering an area of 41,000 sq ft – equivalent to a professional football pitch - on an otherwise unused part of the centre’s roof.

What the solar panels will look like when installed.

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Generating around 315,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity– enough to power 68 UK households for a year, the project will save around 165 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

It is anticipated that 95-100 per cent of the electricity it produces will be consumed on site, with very little excess exported to the National Grid.

Bosses say the creation will markedly lessen the centre’s demand for energy from carbon emitting sources.

M&G Real Estate says it has achieved a 29% energy reduction across the shopping centres it has owned and managed across the country since 2013 – making a saving of over £600,000.

What the solar panels will look like when installed.

Chris Poole, asset manager of The Galleries for M&G Real Estate, commented: “We are committed to investing in The Galleries for it to become one of the UK’s greenest shopping centres and are proud of this strategic investment that will set a new bar for environmental best practice in the region and within the shopping centre industry as a whole.

“We are keen to engage our customers and all of the centre’s stores in this exciting project at The Galleries and will be installing a display to show live electrical generation data that will keep the whole community engaged in our energy-saving success.”

John Laval of Cushman & Wakefield’s Energy, Infrastructure & Sustainability team, who has been managing the development and delivery of the project for M&G Real Estate, added: “We are delighted to have been able to assist M&G Real Estate with the delivery of this solar scheme, which will provide a sustainable source of power for The Galleries and help to reduce the centre’s energy costs.

“This project is further evidence of the growth of solar energy in the UK and ability to remain economically viable despite recent cuts to subsidies.”