The Perthshire-based butcher Simon Howie has completed a £2m sustainability project at its factory with £500,000 of grant support from Scottish Enterprise.

The project will see the well-known supplier of meat and vegetarian products to the UK’s largest supermarkets make 900t of CO2e savings over the next three years.

A new fully-integrated energy system with a 2.1MW Solar Array will produce up to 40% of the site’s daytime energy requirements and 150% of electricity demand in the summer months.

The company also has plans to install a wind turbine to complement the solar energy system throughout the winter months.

Two 450KWh lithium batteries and two 12,000 litre water storage tanks have also been installed and integrated using intelligent control systems to ensure every drop of energy produced from the solar panels can be used by the site. The new system means even the most energy-intensive factory lines can run on solar power.

The firm says the project was borne out of a strong desire to protect the planet, but also from a fundamental need to ensure the long-term viability of the business in the face of soaring energy costs, peaking at a tenfold year-on-year increase.

Simon Howie is already seeing the benefits of investing in equipment that puts sustainability at the heart of the business. Since investing in this infrastructure, it has had the confidence to employ a further 11 staff, growing the company to 122 employees in rural Perthshire.

While a huge investment for the business, Simon Howie explained why it was such an important thing for them to do. He said: “The climate emergency is real and businesses taking on the responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint is, understandably becoming more and more important to the consumer.

“Couple this with the spiralling and uncontrollable energy price increases we all experienced and investing in sustainable green energy becomes a ‘must-do’ as far as we were concerned. We want our customers to know we are doing all that we can to insulate them from cost-of-living increases and to make the right changes for the benefit of the planet.”

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Adrian Gillespie, who visited the completed project, said: “Congratulations to Simon Howie on the launch of their low-carbon energy production at Dunning, supported with £500,000 contribution from Scottish Enterprise.

“This innovative project will result in 300t of CO2e savings annually and puts the business on a strong footing for the future. Scottish Enterprise looks forward to continuing to work with the company to realise the impact of this investment, both for their business and the environment.”

Scottish Enterprise says it has supported Simon Howie Butchers through several phases of growth, from the early days of advice and support from SE specialists to grant support over the past eight years.