Solar farm increases Brett Martin's renewable footprint
Manufacturer Brett Martin has become the latest company to launch its own solar farm as it embarks on a 25-year agreement with energy giant Lightsource.
The firm, which makes plastics for the construction industry, will be sourcing electricity from a solar farm developed by Lightsource on a 35-acre site near its Mallusk headquarters.
The family company, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, is following in the footsteps of other firms including Belfast International Airport and Dale Farm in installing their own solar farms.
The installation at Gibson Farm will meet 14% of Brett Martin's energy requirement.
It already operates its own wind turbine.
In total, 25% of its energy demand is now met through renewables.
Lightsource, which is based in London, is led by Saintfield man Nick Boyle, who commutes from his home village.
Brett Martin managing director Laurence Martin said the addition of the solar farm came during a period of growth after the company boosted its turnover by £17m to hit £152.4m and increased its staffing levels by 138 to 825.
He said it operated in a sector that used vast amounts of energy, which added to its overheads.
"Our core activity of processing plastics is very energy intensive," he explained.
"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 over 50% of our sales are exported.
"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."
Mr Boyle said: "We're delighted to have developed this project with Brett Martin who join other Lightsource 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 energy market.
"We're proud to be working with corporations both locally and internationally to cut costs and increase price visibility."
Brett Martin was set up in 1958 and is a privately-owned business manufacturing specialist thermoplastic sheet, rooflights and drainage.
Its major projects have included London Stadium; Queen Elizabeth Park; the Waterfront Hall, and the refurbishment of Liverpool Football Club's Anfield Stadium and the south stand at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.