Northern Ireland-based dairy cooperative Dale Farm has launched the largest ‘self-consumption’ solar farm in Ireland, at its cheese processing facility in County Tyrone, achieving a major milestone in sustainability within the global dairy sector.
The project, which guarantees 20 years of green energy for the company, is one of the largest of its kind in dairy worldwide.
The 37-acre solar farm, connected directly to the company’s network, is now powering Dale Farm’s cheddar cheese plant at Dunmanbridge, Cookstown. Designed and delivered in partnership with Dublin company CES Energy, the solar farm will reduce Dale Farm’s carbon footprint by 20% and deliver multimillion-pound savings in energy costs.
Chris McAlinden, Group Operations Director, Dale Farm said: “Dale Farm is committed to leading the way in sustainability – with a strategy that sees us constantly assessing our processes and facilities to identify how we can reduce our carbon footprint and increase efficiency.
“This approach is about doing the right thing for the environment and ultimately making our business as lean as it can be, so we can pay our farmer owners the best possible price for their milk. We are extremely proud to have developed a green energy solution that positions our operations at the vanguard of sustainability not just in dairy in Ireland, but worldwide.”
Tom Marren, chief executive of CES Energy, who delivered the solar project added: “For companies like Dale Farm, maximising sustainability is key to leading the way in social responsibility. At the same time, it makes business sense, as retailers are strengthening their demands on producers and suppliers like Dale Farm, calling for them to be carbon neutral.”
Headquartered in Belfast, with premises across Great Britain, Dale Farm is the largest UK farmer-owned dairy cooperative and owns the Dale Farm, Dromona, Spelga, Fivemiletown Cheese, Loseley, Rowan Glen and Mullins Ice Cream brands.