SUEZ celebrates solar power switch on at its Avonmouth materials recycling facility, near Bristol

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK is celebrating the switch on of over 1,000 solar panels on the roof of its Avonmouth material recycling facility - that are set to supply 17% of the facility’s power needs every year. Part of SUEZ’s ongoing commitment to decarbonising the management of its customers’ waste and supporting progress towards the UK’s net zero goal.

The once empty roof of Avonmouth materials recycling facility (MRF) has been transformed over the last month and is now home to a sea of solar panels ready to harness the power of the sun. After the successful installation completed by contractors Olympus and Apex Height Safety, the solar panels were switched on in late March and have been generating electricity used to power the strategic facility which sorts recycling from businesses and homes across the South West.

It's estimated the 1,000 panels will generate 373,000 kWh per year, equivalent to the yearly electricity use of 128 homes. The panels now supply 17% of the facility’s power needs.

At weekends, bank holidays or when the facility is not fully utilised, the excess electricity generated by the solar panels will be exported into the National Grid, contributing to the UK’s renewable energy supply.

Since 2013, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK has been self-supplying the wider business with ‘Green Power’ generated from its own renewable assets. Under the self-supply arrangement, SUEZ uses Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates, received from the energy it generates to demonstrate that the power it purchases is 100% renewable. Diversifying and investing in more renewable technologies is one strand of its work to reduce the carbon footprint of managing its customers’ waste.

SUEZ is also developing other initiatives to decarbonise its operations in the Bristol area, including the introduction of a fully electric collection truck which is powered by the waste it collects from businesses in Bristol City Centre.

Dr Adam Read, Chief External Affairs and Sustainability Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “We’re delighted to have the solar panels on the roof of our Avonmouth materials recycling facility up and running. Solar panels are a standard feature when planning new developments, but we’re also identifying opportunities to retrofit renewable energy sources across our existing estate as part of our strategy to reduce our carbon emissions. Looking at the system as a whole, we are investing in ways to monitor and decrease the carbon content of the waste itself as well as the impact of the way we collect and manage our customers’ waste”.