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Solar Panels Shine a Light on Sustainable Future

Midland Lead has invested around £230,000 this year in three projects that will reduce their carbon footprint as part of their ongoing commitment towards sustainability and producing green energy.

Renewable energy experts, Cactus Energy recently completed the £190,000 installation of 569 solar panels across a 1,102m2 area at Midland Lead’s specialist manufacturing site in South Derbyshire. They are also nearing completion of a £40,000 investment in replacing lighting on site to more efficient systems, including LED and motion sensitive technology by Norwood Electrical.

Here at Midland Lead it is well documented through our ongoing improvements that we have a solid commitment to reducing our environmental impact as a high energy usage manufacturing facility. This renewable energy installation of solar panels means that we are 24% more self-sufficient on our electricity intake and usage.

The solar system was up and running in November 2022 and will generate 210,000kWh of clean green energy and is projected to offset almost 49 tons of Co2 each year. The Co2 savings are equivalent to driving a car 121,000 miles, burning 27 tons of coal or charging almost 6 million smart phones.

This project started back in May 2022 and the first step was to work with our energy supplier, Inspired Energy, and Cactus Energy to draw up a feasibility study that would inform how the system would be developed. This included detailed plans of different solar panel options relevant to us, and drone inspections of the building and roof infrastructure carried out by structural engineers, helped to inform the reports. The feasibility studies identified three modular roof areas as suitable for the solar panels to be installed and maintained for maximum efficiency.

Cactus Energy designed the system and plans were submitted in July to South Derbyshire Council to seek approval for the work to go ahead, permission was granted in October and soon afterwards work started. The work was completed in November 2022 and during the whole process the logistics and manufacturing facilities remained operational throughout the installation.

Mark Winchester, Financial Controller at Midland Lead, commented: “This is another exciting step towards progressing our long-term sustainability plans which are to eventually operate at net zero. We are delighted with our progress so far and following this successful installation we are now looking to fit more solar panels across more of the Midland Lead infrastructure.”

Tom Fishwick, Business Development Executive at Cactus Energy, commented: “From our very first meeting, the communication from Midland Lead was exceptional and our presence on-site was well facilitated ensuring that they could remain operational throughout. It’s great to work with a company like Midland Lead who has a realistic green strategy and is keen to continue to invest in making their plans a reality.”

Mark Winchester added: “Here at Midland Lead we pride ourselves on having a long-term vision for developing more sustainable processes throughout our company and we will continue to invest in technology that can help to reduce our carbon footprint.

“One of our goals is to invest in more solar energy at our South Derbyshire base and eventually to introduce a solar farm so we can operate off-grid and feed any surplus energy back into the national grid.”

Inspired Energy carried out two reports for Midland Lead this year including an energy and carbon base line survey and an energy survey report that helped us to identify areas that we could invest in now to work towards our goal of becoming net-zero.

Based on the recommendations in the report, we have already implemented three of the recommendations this year:

We hope to be able to inspire other manufacturers to strive towards investing in renewable energy sources and believe that every organisation, especially within manufacturing, should be aware of the impact they have on the environment. After this years investment of £190,000 in solar we are projected to achieve a relatively short pay-back period of less than 3 years, mainly due to the high energy costs, which is very encouraging.

The focus we have at Midland Lead on reducing our carbon footprint is something that runs through every part of our business, from making sure our waste gets recycled (instead of disposed of), using 100% recycled lead as raw materials, and always looking into new and innovative ways to reduce our energy consumption.