A SUFFOLK manufacturing firm has accelerated its environmental sustainability mission, with a 25kw installation of solar panels at its Wickham Market factory.

Roland Plastics, which carries out bespoke product moulding for clients throughout the UK, including the military, has completed the installation thanks to partial funding from the Business Energy Efficiency (BEE) Anglia Programme.

With a value of £20,000 and 128 metres square in size, the panelling reduces the firm’s carbon footprint by delivering the equivalent of powering six houses for a full day.

The solar commitment is just one part of Roland Plastics’ ambition to reduce its power consumption. It has also invested in new machinery, which uses 30% less power. All of its lighting has been changed to LED power.

In recent years, the business has been actively seeking to design and create products which can be recycled after use. In the last 12 months the company produced 160 tons of products and used 130 tons of recycled materials and only 30 tons of ‘new’ plastic.

Ben Emerson, Director, said “Throughout all our supply chain processes and our production, we have worked consistently in recent years on being a responsible plastics producer, and encouraging others to do the same.

“All of our waste material is recycled and we use as much recycled material in new products as we can.”

Commenting on the solar installation, Jonathan Paul, Director, said: “Solar power is perfect for our factory as we are here 5 days a week during the daylight hours to use the power generated.

“Any excess power is fed back into the grid so that it is not wasted. With the improvements in technology, the panels can produce power even during the many dull days we get in the UK.”

Ned Harrison, BEE Anglia Project Manager, said: “We’re proud to have been able to support Roland Plastics with their solar project.

“They can now start generating their own electricity without adding to their energy bills or carbon emissions.  It’s hugely encouraging to see the number of businesses that are continuing to invest in a greener future.”

The installation was completed over a course of 2 weeks, with the help of Suffolk firm, Doyle Electrical Services.

Cavin Doyle, owner of Doyle Electrical Services,  said ““As a Suffolk firm, we were delighted to help Roland Plastics with its sustainability commitment, by completing this installation. More and more firms are realising that they can make changes to have positive impact in their community, and upon the planet.”

Roland Plastics has a long heritage in supplying bespoke injection moulded plastics to small and large organisations. The company started life as Girdlestone Pumps in the 1960’s.