Run by the sun
Run by the sun

Sustainable Design for New Tate Modern Building

Friday 20 May 2016

If I ever go to London, I usually end up on the Southbank along the River Thames.  There was the usual hive of activity around the Tate Modern and I was blissfully unaware that it was currently undergoing massive development with expansion to the south of the existing building

As part of this new beautifully designed development, as with many new buildings built these days, there is a focus on sustainability which is showcased within an installation in the existing building which naturally caught my interest.

As a modern art institution, it’s of paramount importance that the Tate’s forward-thinking and progressive ethos is extended beyond art and the gallery but as far as their operations. In autumn last year, the Tate installed an 82kWp PV solar system on the gallery’s roof bringing clean energy to their premises as well as reminding us of a time when the building was the Bankside Power Station.

This has been one measure in a bid to meet their own personal sustainability mission and the new building will continue to reduce their impact on the environment.  One of the aspects of this new project which stood out for me was that rather than just meeting building regulations, Tate actively see this as an opportunity to go beyond what is accepted and challenge industry standards.


The new building will use 54% less energy and 44% less carbon than building regulations actually require. Acknowledging that details matter when trying to reduce energy consumption by such staggering figures is a must and obviously renewable energy technologies such as solar will play an important role.

Why solar energy for business makes commercial sense 

Besides the positive environmental influence, solar for any business makes financial sense especially if you own your building, factory or office space and consume a lot of energy if you require 24 hour power for lighting or say refrigeration. 

  • A small to medium sized business in the UK spends on average £2,566 - £4,280 annually on their electricity bills using between 15,000 - 50,000 kWh of electricity in the process.
  • The average commercial PV solar installation is 10kWp system which costs roughly £12,000 and will last 25 years.
  • This size system would produce roughly 9,000 kWh. Depending on the amount of electricity you use each year, a business could save as much as over 50% on their electricity bills.
  • On average a company would receive £405 from the Feed In Tariff as well as £218 from the export tariff, a total of £623.
  • If you use the vast majority of the energy you produce, you could save as much as £1,080 on your energy bills, giving a business a potential saving of over £1,700.
  • The cost of the PV solar system could be easily paid in less than 10 years.

If you would like to arrange a free, no obligation consultation to discuss how solar energy could reduce costs and improve the sustainability of your business operations, call 0116 270 1926.