Fruit Pastilles get greener as Nestlé fires up giant solar system

Nestlé's Fawdon factory in Newcastle upon Tyne, which produces Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles, Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Caramac, is now home to the largest solar panel installation in the North East of England.

The food giant has this week switched on a 500kW solar system on the roof and to the rear of the Fawdon factory, which will see the amount of CO2 it produces cut by 225,000kg.

Nestlé’s head of environmental sustainability Andrew Griffiths said that the solar project will be a proving ground for other potential renewable energy installations across the company’s UK estate, after it became one of the founding members of the RE100 campaign late last year.

“Fawdon is our first factory in the UK & Ireland to trial solar power on this scale and we’re looking forward to see how it performs.,” said Griffiths. “We’re assessing output and performance to determine whether we roll it out across the whole of the UK.”

“Nestlé is continuously making efforts to improve the environmental performance of our operations. As part of our global commitment to procure 100% of electrical energy from renewable sources we are looking at potential solar-powered sources on a site-by-site basis.”

On-site solutions

The 1,970-panel installation at Nestlé Fawdon will generate 1.5% of the total energy usage at the site, delivering the equivalent power needed for 125 average houses.

It is the latest in a line of green initiatives undertaken at the Fawdon factory. The site also houses a giant anaerobic digester which converts more than four tonnes of solid waste and 200,000 litres of liquid waste into renewable energy and clean water every day. After its installation last year, the AD plant has helped Nestlé achieve zero-waste-to-landfill and cut emissions by 10% at the site.

All the electricity produced by this new solar installation and the AD plant will be fed directly to the factory network. Nestlé hopes this will take the company a step closer to its UK carbon reduction target of 40% by 2020. By the end of 2014, Nestlé reported that it had reduced its global direct emissions per tonne of product by 40% since 2005 – achieving an 11.4% absolute reduction and taking the company 5% ahead of its 2015 target.

The Nestlé Fawdon factory welcomed 20 students from the local Malvin’s Close Primary Academy to the official opening of its solar panels installation. During their visit, the pupils learnt about the importance of renewable energy and how the panels work.

Luke Nicholls

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