Producers both large and small are embracing solar power

Kerry Easter and Jay Christie of Diageo at the Leven solar array
(Pic: Mike Wilkinson)

SOLAR power has been the talk of the drinks industry in recent weeks, with drinks giant Diageo and Edinburgh craft brewer Stewart Brewing both unveiling significant investment in the green energy.

The Diageo project has seen 8000 solar panels installed at the company’s Leven site, which will generate up to 22% of the site’s annual electrical demand – and up to 60% during the summer months.

Diageo claims the technology will cut around 830 tonnes of CO2 a year. 

Diageo packages a number of its brands at the Leven site, including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Gordon’s and Captain Morgan.

The solar equipment has gone live at the same time as a rainwater harvesting project the company said will deliver up to seven million litres of water a year. 

Stuart Galbraith, operations director at Diageo Leven, said: “This is a very proud moment for the team at Diageo Leven who have worked to make this project a reality.

“Our people are passionate about protecting the environment and building a sustainable future.

“It is fantastic to know that as we work to make some of the world’s greatest quality products we are doing it with renewable energy produced by the Scottish daylight.”

The Diageo announcement came after Stewart Brewing installed solar panels which will provide between 65% and 70% of its required electricity, as well as a carbon capture initiative to collect and bottle CO2. 

Solar panels at Stewart Brewing

Stewart Brewing said the project will prevent 250 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the environment over a three-year period. 

Stewart co-founder, Steve Stewart, said the initiatives – which together account for an investment of more than £300,000 – are in keeping with the brewery’s mission to “brew great beer in a sustainable and efficient manner”.