Brett Martin has boosted its use of sustainable energy after striking a deal with a solar farm adjacent to its Belfast facility.
The plastic sheet manufacturer also runs a wind turbine on its 50-acre site, which brought it to the attention of Lightsource BP, which leased nearby farmland in 2015 to host a solar panel array.
Brett Martin confirmed that the deal would see the manufacturer buy all the power produced by Lightsource on the site over the length of the 30-year contract.
It has an output capacity of 6.42mW, which will account for 14% of Brett Martin’s total energy consumption, and will save the equivalent of 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Combined with the wind turbine at the company’s facility, 25% of Brett Martin’s energy will now be provided by renewable sources.
Brett Martin finance director Geoff Stewart said: “As a provider of plastics for the print and display industry, we are a very large energy consumer and it is important to us in terms of our corporate social responsibility to generate power in the most sustainable way.
“With the solar farm, we can reduce our energy costs and provide our facility with a predictable flow of energy, which will insulate us from fluctuations. This will all then have a knock-on benefit for our customers.
“As for the future, I think the next obvious step might be to look at battery storage although the technology remains in its infancy for now. Having taken a 30-year contract with Lightsource it should be clear that we are in this for the long term as a company.”
Energy prices are up to 25% higher than the European average in Northern Ireland, and the reductions granted by the solar farm will help Brett Martin to offset that impact and remain competitive among customers in more than 70 countries, according to Stewart.
Next, the company will continue with its policy of “always expanding” by finalising details on plans for an additional 15 acres it will add to its Belfast site, as well as adding more staff.
Around 450 people currently work at the facility, which is just over a mile from the solar farm.
Brett Martin currently employs 900 members of staff across its UK and Europe bases, with a turnover of £160m.