Yearsley switches on renewable energy

Heywood, Manchester, UK: Yearsley Group has installed solar panels at two of its cold stores in England. The roofs at the Heywood cold store in Greater Manchester, and Holmewood near Chesterfield in Derbyshire, have been fitted with 5,000 sq metres of photovoltaic panels.

The installations – each of around 2,500sq m – are among the largest roof mounted solar panel systems in the UK. Each system produces 310,000kW hours per annum, saving upwards of 170 tons of CO2 per warehouse. The panels reduce the company’s reliance on the national grid for power. It is estimated they will provide each of the cold stores with up to 10% annual electricity.

The £2.2m investment is part of the company plans to increase the energy it obtains from renewable sources by 2015, in line with its commitment to carbon reduction and sustainable sourcing. Yearsley plans to install renewable solutions, either solar or wind power, at other UK depots.

Harry Yearsley, managing director of Yearsley Group, said: “Sustainability is high on our agenda and the reduction of carbon emissions is key in terms of our warehouse operation and in regards to transportation.

The 2,500sq m solar panel installation at Yearsley Group's Heywood cold store

“We have already implemented new management systems for reducing waste road miles and updated many of the cold stores with state-of-the-art insulation, but we knew we could do more and began to investigate renewable.

“Cold storage by its nature requires a large energy input and, with fuel prices increasing on an almost daily basis, any measures we could employ to create our own electricity would be welcome. Solar PV panels were the natural solution for the group as it makes sense to use the large exposed surface area of the warehouses to generate sustainable electricity.

“Hopefully these will be the first of many renewable projects that will help us to meet our carbon reduction commitments. It also coincides with our implementation of ISO 14001, the environmental management standard and ISO 26000, the international standard guidelines for social responsibility.”

• The Yearsley Group turns over £130m, has 12 UK depots with 280,000-pallet storage capacity for manufacturers and retailers in the frozen food sector, and operates a 300-vehicle temperature controlled vehicle fleet providing three-day, next-day and just-in-time deliveries.