New canopies for two Sainsbury’s forecourts are claimed to be a world first in that the forecourt roof not only contains photovoltaic (PV) glass to generate electricity but is also transparent.

The canopies are at the new Sainsbury’s stores at Leicester and Weymouth, which have been unveiled as the flagship stores for its environmental policy. They have been dubbed triple zero stores by Sainsbury because they are designed to be environmentally neutral in terms of energy, waste and water.

The canopies were designed, fabricated and installed by Global-MSI. Polysolar supplied the solar panels and provided technical support to Sainsbury’s.

Global-MSI also designed the panel support structure and the unique rainwater drainage system, and was responsible for installing the solar panels that formed the canopy roof.

Global-MSI managing director Martin Steggles said: "Global-MSI is proud to have supplied Sainsbury’s with high-quality solar panel petrol forecourt canopies at their flagship sites in Leicester and Weymouth."

Hamish Watson, managing director of Polysolar, said: "These canopies use Polysolar’s laminated PV glass that lets through light to the forecourt, reducing the need for artificial lighting, while generating clean renewable electricity from sunlight to help power the filling station."

He said he expected that the canopies would generate sufficient electricity to cover between a third and a quarter of the service stations’ energy requirements each year.

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