As published in Property EU on 13 March

Instructions for the installation of photovoltaic panels on industrial property have risen by 720 percent year-on year, according to leading independent real estate consultancy Hollis.

Hollis, which oversees the management of retrofitting, refurbishment and new build projects for most of the UK’s largest industrial real estate landlords and investors, reviewed instructions taken in its 2022-23 financial year to date, with those taken in the previous year.

The increase comes as part of a wider drive by institutional investors to implement overarching ESG strategies across their portfolios, with Hollis’ dedicated ESG team advising the likes of Legal & General and SEGRO on how to meet forthcoming changes to EPC regulations.

Hollis director and head of industrial, Carl Sablon, says: “The last 12 months has seen investors of all sizes really focus on the task of improving the energy consumption levels of their industrial units, which are often the least efficient assets in their portfolios. The reality of the need to be compliant with MEES targets from 2025 through to 2030 is starting to bite. Whilst smaller changes to things such as lighting and heating systems might get them to the D and E EPC ratings needed in the short terms, to achieve a Band B rating, they need to make bigger changes to the energy sources they are using.”

Hollis recently completed the retrofitting of a 21,284 sq ft warehouse for SEGRO, which included the installation of 341 PV panels, alongside a number of other ESG initiatives. The result saw the property achieve an EPC A+ and BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, whilst also delivering reduced upfront embodied carbon of 130 tonnes CO2e, compared to undertaking a new build industrial unit.

Sablon adds: “With their expansive roof fascias, industrial units are perfect for installing the quantity of PV panels needed to generate levels of natural sources of renewable energy that covers day to day usage on the site.”