Work is set to begin on a new 9000 panel solar farm at Diageo’s Leven packaging site.

After receiving planning approval, the drinks industry giant plans to commence work on the site next month. Occupying an area the size of eight football pitches, the solar panels will generate up to 22% of the site’s annual electricity needs, and up to 60% over the summer months. The solar array is expected to be one of the largest of its type in Scotland, producing 4.1MW of electricity and reducing CO2 emissions by about 830 tonnes a year.

The solar farm is being delivered in partnership with E.ON and Scottish-based Emtec Energy. Minimising disruption within the local community, the project is wholly contained within the existing footprint of the site and is scheduled to be complete and generating power by early 2023.

Diageo’s Leven bottling and packaging site produces 40 million cases of premium spirit every year and, under the company's 'Society 2030' commitment, is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2026.

Operations director Gavin Brogan said: “It’s fantastic to make this project a reality, creating a more resilient and energy-efficient plant. Working in partnership with E.ON and Emtec Energy, the solar array will generate nearly a quarter of our annual energy use and is a fantastic step forward towards meeting our net zero commitments.

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“Diageo is well-rooted in Leven and we are committed to playing a positive role in our local community, so we will continue to invest in projects like this one to improve our impact on the environment and future-proof our operations. We have a number of those projects in the pipeline, including looking into sustainable heating solutions which the solar farm development will help to power.”

Director of Solutions Sales at E.ON, Stuart Beasley, added: “Now, more than ever, people are choosing to work with or buy from greener businesses, and at E.ON we've decades of experience in delivering affordable and sustainable solutions that help businesses with their lower carbon ambitions.

With our partners Emtec we are ideally placed to help Diageo in their ambitions to create a more sustainable business, as well as showing employees and customers the tangible changes they are making in the face of the climate emergency and meeting the UK’s 2050 net zero targets.”