Brett Martin, a leading manufacturer of polycarbonate, foam PVC and PETg plastic sheets for the signage and graphics industry, is set to benefit from combined renewable supply sources.
The Northern Ireland based company has announced that it is now procuring renewable electricity from a solar installation funded and developed by Lightsource BP, a global leader in the solar industry. Combined with the energy supplied by Brett Martin's onsite wind turbine the company now receives 25% of its energy requirements from renewable sources.
Lightsource BP financed, completed and now operate the solar installation near Belfast, which is hard wired directly into Brett Martin's facility just over a mile away.
The solar installation has an output power capacity of 6.42 MWp (Megawatts-peak) – enough clean solar energy to power the equivalent of over 1600 homes, providing approximately 14% of the centre's annual electricity demand. The solar installation, built on over 35 acres of locally owned farmland, provides an estimated saving of 2000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, equal to taking nearly 1000 cars off the road.
Laurence Martin, managing director, Brett Martin, said: ‘Brett Martin is experiencing a period of significant growth and development recording an uplift in turnover of £17 million to £152.4 million since last year and a headcount increase of 138 in the same period. Our core activity of processing plastics is very energy intensive and with energy costs in Northern Ireland at around 25% more than the European average, initiatives like this are critical to help us maintain our competitive edge in a global marketplace where 50% of our sales are exported. We were one of the first local manufacturers to install a wind turbine in 2011, now delivering 11% of our energy costs.
‘The partnership with Lightsource now more than doubles our renewable footprint and also highlights our commitment to environmentally sensitive manufacturing practice. We are very grateful to the many local interest groups, statutory bodies and government agencies who provided help and assistance to both Lightsource and ourselves as we progressed the project to completion.’
The Gibson Farm solar installation was developed and constructed alongside an in-depth biodiversity management plan, detailing planting measures designed to support local wildlife. This planting plan includes seeding choices specifically designed to foster new insect and bird species, strengthening the biodiversity of the local area and providing significant environmental benefits to the surrounding farmland.
Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource BP, said: ‘We are delighted to have developed this project with Brett Martin, which joins other Lightsource BP partnerships, including Belfast International Airport, Bentley Motors and Thames Water, in procuring renewable electricity. Choosing to source solar electricity via private wire provides Brett Martin with a long term hedging strategy against rising costs in today's volatile energy market. We are proud to be working with corporations both locally and internationally to cut costs and increase price visibility, as well as to accelerate the global low carbon transition.’
From left to right: Geoff Stewart, finance director at Brett Martin, Laurence Martin, managing director at Brett Martin, Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource BP.