The Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA) has taken a major step towards achieving energy self-sufficiency after investing £120,000 to install 362 solar panels on the roof of its National Training Centre.
Part of TICA’s sustainability strategy, the commercial arrays can generate up to 99,196kWh per year, or 85% of the total power required by the not-for-profit trade organisation.
The solar panels were fitted in three phases to its headquarters on Yarm Road Business Park, Darlington. Prior to the installation of the third array, Northern Powergrid upgraded the connection capacity to allow TICA to transfer surplus electricity to the national grid.
Marion Marsland, chief executive of TICA, said: “Our extensive roof area has proved to be a real asset by allowing us to tap into this free and infinite energy source.
“The amount of power generated is weather dependent and will vary month to month, but given our site is 95% electric powered, we expect it to quickly repay our investment by reducing energy bills by tens of thousands of pounds per year.
“TICA’s decision to adopt solar energy resonates with the adoption of sustainable practices across the industry, and we see considerable demand to both fit and retrofit insulation to pipework, ducting, and vessels to improve sustainability and cut costs.
“By investing in renewable energy, TICA aims to reduce its carbon footprint and set an example to both its members and the wider construction industry.”
Its company car fleet was recently converted to electric, with charging stations installed at the centre.
The sole trade body representing contractors involved in the application of hot and cold thermal insulation, TICA welcomes more than 130 apprentices a year to its National Training Centre for two week blocks of training every three months, for between 18 and 24 months.
Earlier this year it joined the European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF), which promotes the use of industrial insulation as an accepted means of achieving sustainability.