Coventry lathe business saves £20,000 a year with solar PV and LEDs

Wickman cuts carbon emissions by 24 tonnes a year with advice and grant from Coventry City Council’s green business programme. 

The company sought advice from the local green business programme about installing solar PV panels on the roof of its building in Leofric Business Park. As a result, it was awarded a grant of £24,000 and paid a further £50,000 itself to install the panels. Wickman expects to see a full return on investment in less than three years by saving more than £20,000 per year on energy bills.

architectural photography of blue and white satellite panel

Solar panels, photo by Jadon Kelly

We’ve reported before on efforts to decarbonise manufacturing but Wickman has always had what we’d now call a sustainable model for its business. The company has manufactured multi-spindle lathes for nearly 100 years. This is complex industrial machinery but Wickman’s spindles are made to last and have a lifespan of as much as 50 years. Indeed, the company encourages its customers to repair rather than replace, and spare parts are available for all the company’s machines, regardless of age. 

With that kind of sustainable thinking at its heart, the company was quick to see the benefits of modifications to its HQ that also also brought down its carbon footprint. In 2010, Wickman replaced an old boiler and installed shower facilities, encouraging its employees to cycle to work. The company then upgraded its lighting system with LED lights. As a result of immediate, positive benefits of this kind of change, in 2021 managing director Chris Barrett sought advice from the local green business programme to go significantly further. 

The green business programme is delivered by Coventry City Council and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fun. 

Mr Barrett says: ‘We were really pleased to work with the green business team. They completed an energy audit which confirmed many of the suspicions we had about energy waste and alternatives. It gave us a credible and independent report around which we could discuss and make decisions. 

We are pleased that we will save money, of course that’s good for business – but we are also proud to be doing our big in the fight against climate change. I would urge any local business keen to do the same to contact the Green Business team. 

The grant funding really made a difference between the project going ahead or not. Equally importantly the support both financially and professionally has given us the incentive we needed to get on to the work.’ 

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, adds: ‘Wickman is not only a long-established Coventry company but one that has really embraced the need to integrate sustainability into every part of its business. The company and the environment will benefit from the new solar panels, so this really is a win-win. 

‘We have been able to deliver European funded programmes that have created over 730 jobs and contributed to saving over 14,000 tonnes of carbon. And although the programme is drawing to a close the jobs created and the carbon savings will continue – which really is the best legacy.’ 

In related news:

New Nottingham website as city aims to be first carbon-neutral city in UK by 2028

Sefton to save £1.8m per year with LED lighting

Solar array of 800+ panels installed at Leicester City Council leisure centre


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top