The solar panels had been installed via an almost £95,000 grant. Image: Pendle Borough Council.

Food manufacturer Hartley’s Farm Foods has installed new solar panels which could help the family business save around £25,000 a year in energy costs.

The solar panels, which have been installed via a grant received through the Nelson Town Deal, cover the entire roof of the business, which operates from the Lomeshaye Industrial Estate, near Burnley.

The grant provided almost £95,000 in capital to help support the business decarbonise and boost productivity. The business will also allocate funds to increase Hartley’s production by 30% and create new jobs in the coming year.

Hartley’s Farm Foods managing director, Michael Hartley said: “We had been considering solar power for some years and when the price of electricity skyrocketed last year, we knew it was time to take the plunge.

“The entire roof is now covered in solar panels, which will save us a lot of money on our bills. The grant has also enabled us to invest in new machinery which will increase efficiencies and enable us to take on new staff in coming months.”

The solar panels come at a time in which commercial solar enquiries have skyrocketed to 400% amid an “unprecedented era for solar”, Solarsense said in February 2023.

The company noted that there was rising interest from the commercial sector across the board, with telecommunications and data centres, food and beverage, warehousing and distribution all showing increased interest, but manufacturing and engineering stood out as the biggest growth sector.

As well as an increase in the number of enquiries, the scale of the solar installations these companies are targeting has also grown, from an average of 50KWp per installation previously to an average of 250KWp in 2022.

This has been particularly driven by surging power prices in Britain amid the energy crisis. To counter the impact of this, the government introduced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in October.