An expanding Denbighshire bakery is doubling up to harness the power of the sun as part of a planned move to a more eco-friendly future.
Henllan Bakery now runs two bakeries on Denbigh’s Colomendy Industrial Estate, one for bread and one for cakes, and both now have arrays of solar panels to help save money and save the planet.
The company, which supplies bread to North Wales’s hospitals, has 111 solar panels on the roof of their bread-making unit while across the road there are a further 44 panels on the new cake-making facility.
In total their near-neighbours, leading ‘green’ energy specialists Hafod Renewables, have installed twin systems that produces almost 40,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power 10 family homes.
According to Hafod Managing Director David Jones, the double system, which cost £30,000, will pay for itself through the feed-in tariff in just five years.
“With the onsite savings of £4,000 a year and because they were in time to take advantage of the feed-in tariff of over £1500 annually the system will pay for itself in five years.
“It’s also saving 32 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually and that’s equivalent to planting 100 trees a year.
“We have worked all over North and Mid Wales and into the border counties but this must have been just about the closest customers we’ve ever had.
“It was literally a case of taking the panels out of the back door of our premises and we were there.
“The trickiest part was ensuring the project did not interfere with the day to day running of the bakery.
“The scaffolding was carefully erected so not to impede the delivery vehicles and the elecrical shut down was planned carefully. As the bakery is 24.7 there is no out of hours work so it was a fully ‘live’ project.
“It does make a lot of sense for businesses like a bakery which has a huge roof area to look at solar power in particular – we have done a lot of work at dairy farms which have similar large buildings and are also heavy users of electricity.
“Henllan Bakery’s ovens are oil-fired but all the mixers, machines and conveyor belts are electric and they’re running pretty much continually.”
The bakery has been on its current site since 1975 but the family firm has been going since 1908 and current Production Director Tom Moore said: “We opened the cake and biscuit bakery across the road in January and created another 20 jobs there and it’s gone very well.
“The solar panels were just the finishing touch but we did want to go greener as a company and we see this as just the first phase and over the next two years we want to look at more ways of being environmentally friendly.
“We are pleased with what Hafod have done and I’ve asked David to prepare proposals going forward through 2020 and 2021.
“We are investing money in renewables because as we are expanding the business the energy bills are going up and up.
“It’s something we’ve had to do and we’re doing it because it makes good business sense when you have an operation that’s running 24/7.
“It’s also good to use a local company who can virtually throw the solar panels out of the back door to us and that’s a big part of what we do because virtually everyone we employ is local to Denbigh as well.”
The new bakery has been brought on line to take advantage of customer fashions and the growing demand for cakes and biscuits and Henllan Bakery are also seeing an increase in demand for their bread and especially sales of their baps and rolls which rocketed in last year’s barbecue summer.