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Shepherd Neame bids to install hundreds of solar panels at Faversham brewery

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Shepherd Neame is bidding to significantly reduce its carbon emissions by installing more than 750 solar panels at its base in Faversham.

Britain's oldest brewer says the shift to a greener future will be a "major benefit" to the 324-year-old business.

Shepherd Neame is hoping to achieve a greener future
Shepherd Neame is hoping to achieve a greener future

The panels are planned to go atop the brewery's bottling hall in North Lane which is currently undergoing a large-scale renovation.

In total, the 762 solar panels will generate a predicted annual energy production of 288MW hours - resulting in a saving of 67 tonnes of carbon emissions over a year.

Shepherd Neame’s property and services director George Barnes said: “We are committed to pursuing sustainable practices across our business, and have made major investments in our historic site during the past few years as we continue striving to make the brewery cleaner and greener for the future.

"As part of that effort, we have applied to install solar panels on the roof of our bottling hall.

"Due to the large area of the building, the installation would generate a significant amount of green energy and result in a reduction in CO2 emissions.”

Property and services director George Barnes
Property and services director George Barnes

The proposals, which have been welcomed by the town council, are to be determined by Swale Borough Council.

The bid has attracted support from neighbour James Charlton, who said: "The addition of these panels will set the agenda for the future with a weaning away from the reliance on fossil fuels and gas.

"This is a step in the right direction related to climate change. It should be applauded and it shows the commitment to Faversham from the brand."

Documents show how the current monthly bill for energy costs at the bottling hall totals £9,200, but with the solar panels the estimated cost is £6,700.

The brewer says a "substantive start" has been made on the previously approved works to renovate the bottling hall, though the timescale for the project's completion has been pushed back due to the pandemic.

Shepherd Neame's base in Faversham
Shepherd Neame's base in Faversham

When it boasts hundreds of solar panels, the building's aesthetic will "have very little effect on the street scene and will only be visible from a distance", the company says.

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