Manufacturing giant Bombardier has completed the 3.8MW rooftop solar array atop its east Belfast manufacturing facility.

The Canada-headquartered firm has completed the project following an investment of around £3.5m, funding of which was supplied by investment management firm Oxford Capital who said it would allow Bombardier to purchase electricity “at a predictable cost”.

The 14,000-panel array covers 600,000 sq ft of space and is expected to generate approximately 3,000MW hours of electricity each year, providing around a quarter of the facility’s total energy demand.

And Bombardier said it ultimately hoped to derive up to 70% of the facility’s energy demand from renewable energy sources as well as the rooftop array.

“Such a large expanse of roof has provided a number of opportunities to boost our wing facility's environmental performance, including natural lighting and rainwater harvesting,” Michael Ryan, VP of aerostructures and engineering services at Bombardier Belfast, said.

Panels were supplied by Northern Ireland-based renewable energy supplier SALIIS Renewables, while rooftop mounts were sourced from AmbiVolt.

Bombardier submitted plans for the rooftop array in November 2013 that were then approved in February 2014 by Northern Ireland’s environment minister Mark Durkan, who said the scheme would help the country’s “transition towards a low carbon society”.