Britvic taps solar farm on former quarry in Northamptonshire

Soft drinks firm Britvic is now sourcing 75% of the electricity needed for its manufacturing processes from a new 160-acre solar farm in Northamptonshire, which features double-sided solar panels.

Britvic taps solar farm on former quarry in Northamptonshire

Image: Britvic

Britvic will procure renewable electricity from the 3.1GW solar site, which entered operations this week, through a ten-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Squeaky Clean Energy and Atrato Onsite Energy.

The electricity will be used at Britvic’s factories in Rugby, London and Leeds, accounting for three-quarters of its electricity needs for manufacturing in Britain.

It is hoped that the solar array can be scaled up in time to account for 100% of Britvic’s operational electricity needs.

The solar project notably sits on a disused quarry site and makes use of double-sided solar panels to maximise efficiency. These panels use tracking devices to follow the sun and boast a 10% efficiency boost.

Britvic has sourced 100% renewable electricity for all UK manufacturing sites since October 2018 and is now shifting away from certificate-backed tariffs through the new PPA.

Britvic’s director of sustainable business Sarah Webster said: “This is an exciting opportunity to ensure that some of the country’s most recognisable and much-loved soft drinks are powered by renewable energy.”

Brands in the company’s portfolio include Fruit Shoot, Tango, J2O and Robinson’s.

Climate strategy

Britvic is aiming for net-zero in line with the UK’s national 2050 target. It has set interim emissions goals verified in line with 1.5C by the Science-Based Targets Initiative, including halving Scope 1 (operational) and 2 (power-related) emissions by 2025 against a 2017 baseline.

Last May, the business confirmed an £8m investment in energy efficiency and low-carbon heat at its Beckton site, touting a 50% reduction in the site’s operational emissions. The investment was part-funded by the Government and enabled the transition away from gas boilers, plus the installation of a new heat recovery system.

PPA boom

The news from Britvic comes shortly after new research from PPA software and benchmarking firm Pexapark revealed that 2023 was a record-breaking year for PPA deals in Europe.

Corporates were the largest driver of the market, securing almost 12GW of PPAs across 218 deals – a 28% increase compared to 2022. Utilities accounted for 23%.

Solar was the predominant source of PPA deals, eclipsing both onshore and offshore wind by a 4:1 scale. Solar accounted for more than 10GW and 160 deals.

Related news: Google unveils major renewable PPAs in Italy, Poland and Belgium

Related news: Amazon inks power purchase deal with Scottish wind farm

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