Forterra installs 7000 solar panels at Desford factory

Posted on 19 Mar 2024 by The Manufacturer

Leading building products manufacturer Forterra has recently installed almost 7,000 solar panels at its new state of the art factory in Desford, Leicestershire.

The solar panels have been installed by Custom Solar, a company that designs, installs and maintains nationwide solar panel systems for corporations and public sector institutions.

With a projected energy output of 2.6 megawatts, the solar panels will generate approximately 16% of the factory’s energy demands at full capacity.

Combining cost-efficiency with sustainability, the solar panels are predicted to reduce the Desford factory’s annual CO2 emissions by 500 tonnes while curtailing Forterra’s energy expenses by around £400,000.

Any unused electricity will be exported back to the grid for re-use, ensuring maximum efficiency.

Solar power plays a key role in the national energy transition, combining affordability with scalability. The solar panels will complement the company’s previous investments into renewable energy, including a solar farm in Retford that will provide 70% of the company’s energy needs.

The solar farm, a sector-leading investment, constituted the industry’s first PPA of this scale for renewable energy. It has since been commissioned a year early, and from April 2024 will provide renewable energy to Forterra’s sites, delivering annual carbon savings of 14,000 tonnes, equivalent to the energy usage of 13,500 households.

David Manley, Forterra’s Head of Sustainability, said: “The installation of the solar panels represents a further step on our progress towards net-zero. We have set ourselves ambitious ESG targets to reduce our carbon emissions by a further 32% before 2030, and investments such as this one demonstrate that we are actively committed to this goal.

“With these solar panels, we are actually investing in a dedicated source of renewable energy of our own, providing additionality. This is crucial in helping to decarbonise the grid, something that is critical to the UK’s net zero journey.”

Forterra have taken a series of other important sustainability measures too, including the use of HVO (bio diesel) fuel to power all the company’s mobile machinery at its Measham facility, the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles in its car fleet and a £21m investment in its haulage fleet, which will further advance the company towards becoming entirely Euro 6 compliant.

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