Biggest project of its type on the Island could provide approximately 70% of electricity for company’s IOM offices
These aerial photos show the progress that’s being made on a solar power project at Zurich House, Isle of Man Business Park, which is the biggest of its type on the Island.
When completed, it could generate up to 70% of the electricity used at Zurich’s Isle of Man HQ. The business – which is a UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Partner – says that work on the project is going very well, and it’s on track to be completed and generating power before the end of July this year.
An array of 540 solar panels will be installed above an existing car port. Construction of the steel framework which will support the panels is well advanced. Completion of the construction and installation work will be followed by rigorous testing before the solar power system goes live.
Zurich is working with local business Ardern & Druggan to install the latest photovoltaic cell technology with the capacity to generate over 206 kilowatts (206,000 watts) of electricity – enough to power more than 2,000 100watt lightbulbs. In addition to providing around seven months of the annual electricity needs of Zurich House, it will also generate power to recharge electric vehicles.
The project has been welcomed by Daphne Caine MHK – Chair of the Island’s Climate Change Transformation Board – who says that Zurich’s major commitment to harnessing renewable energy, and ensuring a sustainable future for its Isle of Man headquarters, will help the Island to meet its climate change goals.
Zurich House, which opened in 2018, is already one of the Island’s most modern office buildings. It is BREEAM accredited which means it meets high standards for sustainability. BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects. A range of measures have been introduced in recent years to make it even more efficient. For example, water usage has been cut by 250,000 litres per year by reducing the capacity of toilet cisterns. With efficient water usage also in mind, the car port solar array structure has been designed to include a guttering system to harvest rainwater.
The solar power project is jointly funded by Zurich on the Isle of Man and the Zurich Carbon fund which is part of Zurich Insurance Group’s sustainability commitment. In 2019 Zurich became the first insurer in the world to sign up to the UN’s 1.5 Celsius Business Ambition. Since then the Group has created a Sustainability Leadership Council (SLC) and a 1.5 Celsius Task Force. In March this year the Group announced that it had brought forward its target to achieve net-zero emissions in its operations by 20 years (from 2050 to the new target of 2030).
[Drone (1) & (2)]: Aerial shots taken on May 31st this year showing Zurich House and the steel framework being built to support the solar panels.
[Zurich – solar work]: At Zurich House to mark the start of work on the project in April this year are, left to right, Kevin Druggan, Director, Ardern & Druggan; Jason Buckley, Facilities Manager, Zurich on the Isle of Man; Daphne Caine MHK, Chair, Climate Change Transformation Board; and Scott Christian, Director, Ardern & Druggan. They are pictured with one of the solar panels that will be installed as part of Zurich’s solar power project.