UK textiles firm completes $4m on-site renewables project

A leading UK textiles company has completed a £3m ($4m) on-site renewable power project, the company has announced.

Devon, England-based Heathcoat Fabrics, which makes textiles for the automotive industry, has installed over 2200 solar PV panels, a hydropower scheme and a 2 MWth combined heat and power (CHP) system at its production facility.

The firm said its new systems have already reduced its grid power consumption by over 50 per cent.

The most recent of the three installations was the reintroduction of a hydropower scheme, Heathcoat Fabrics said. With an on-site leat supplied by the River Exe, the company decided to refurbish a 1950s Gilkes turbine. The energy derived from the water flow generates enough power to supply the main office and the R&D testing laboratories.

Meanwhile, the heat generated by the CHP system is used within the factory dye house and the technical automotive fabrics processing area.

Business project manager Alison Kitchener said the firm has been “working on ways to determine the best methods of practice to ultimately do our part in achieving a low carbon future.

"The installation of the solar panels was the first project we completed where we installed 2225 solar panels on the roofing of five production sheds. The solar panel system was a stepping stone towards bigger scale projects to improve the sustainability of the business."

Managing director Cameron Harvie added: "As a business surrounded by such a beautiful landscape, we decided it was imperative for Heathcoat Fabrics to look at ways in which we could operate in a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.

"Our aim is to ensure we are doing our part to keep Devon green, by showing our industry, community and staff that we're actively finding ways to invest in our future by reducing our carbon footprint. Implementing ways of utilizing renewable energy sources is a start and these changes will help contribute towards national and international climate change targets."


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