Aerospace giant Bombardier unveils £3.5m solar roof
Aerospace giant Bombardier's green credentials are taking flight as it unveils Ireland's largest solar panel rooftop in a £3.5m investment.
The east Belfast plane maker unveiled what is also now one of the UK's largest rooftop solar panel installations - expected to provide around a quarter of Bombardier's energy needs.
The huge 14,000 solar panels will generate around 3,000Mw hours of energy each year, and are positioned on the roof of its 600,000 sq ft production site.
It's been funded by investment managers Oxford Capital, and the company has said it will "enable Bombardier to purchase clean electricity at a predictable cost".
It has been strongly welcomed by Stephen Kelly of Manufacturing NI, who said "electricity regulators and policy makers" should now help out smaller firms struggling with their own energy costs.
"It's a good thing and it's the biggest demonstration of the efforts that manufacturing businesses have to go through to secure their energy, and to reduce their costs," he said.
The solar panels have been produced and will continue to be maintained by Carryduff firm SALIIS Renewables.
Canadian-owned Bombardier said it hopes to get 70% of its energy from other "alternative technologies" alongside its new solar panel roof.
"Such a large expanse of roof has provided a number of opportunities to boost our wing facility's environmental performance, including natural lighting and rainwater harvesting," said Michael Ryan, vice-president of Bombardier aerostructures and engineering services in Belfast.