Hospitality giant Whitbread has announced plans to extend its existing solar programme to a further 70 hotels nationwide. It claims the move will mean Whitbread-owned hotel chain Premier Inn will have more solar panel sites than any of its UK competitors.

There are already solar panels on 88 Premier Inn hotels, which were installed between 2013 and 2015. Around 70 further sites will be fitted with solar PV panels in this latest scheme.

The new panels will have a combined capacity of more than 1.6MW, and will bring Premier Inn’s total solar capacity to over 3MW. Once the new installations are completed, there will be panels fitted to more than 20 per cent of the chain’s portfolio.

James Pitcher, Whitbread’s director of sustainability, said: “Solar technology is a key part of our sustainability programme and helps ensure we always act as a force for good. As a long-term investment, solar is a fantastic proposition for us.”

The panels will be designed and managed by Anesco, and their installation is scheduled to be completed by autumn of this year.

Steve Shine, executive chairman of Anesco, said: “What this project proves is that despite cuts to the feed-in tariffs, solar is still a viable option for businesses. There continues to be a growing appetite among commercial organisations for energy efficiency and renewable technologies, as a tried-and-tested model for reducing energy costs, while improving sustainability and lowering emissions.”

Anesco recently revealed plans to build around 300MW of new battery storage over the next three years, quadrupling the size of its existing portfolio.

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