Don & Low’s Solar Project Gains Approval

Forfar textile firm Don & Low is to run its town factories from the sun in one of the UK’s biggest private solar power projects.

The 230-year-old company has won approval to put more than 16,000 solar panels on the roof of its three premises at Orchardbank.

Installation work will start soon.

The firm, which employs more than 400 people, says the 6.6MW-capacity scheme will cut more than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

The solar scheme will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,700 homes each year.

Angus Council officials approved the company’s planning application under delegated powers.

Don & Low is a market leader in technical and geotextiles, nonwovens and artificial grass.  Its origins are in jute, and the firm historically operated from mills dotted around Forfar.

But operations are now firmly based at Orchardbank beside Glamis Road.  In 2021, it reported a profit of more than £10 million.

The company was a major PPE producer at the height of the pandemic.

Finance director Nick Cunningham said: “We have been working on the solar project for over a year, and it will be one of the largest privately owned, roof-mounted solar PV systems in the UK.

“Now that planning permission has been received, we already have permission for connection to the national grid.

“The aim is to begin construction in spring and to be completed by the end of summer.

“A further phase to expand the solar capacity is well advanced.”

Installation work is projected to take around two months.

The three large factories will have between 4,700 and 6.000 solar panels put on them – 16,242 in total.

Mr Cunningham added: “Don & Low take sustainability and our environmental impact seriously.

“In 2021 we invested in a waste recycling machine with the aim to bring our waste generation to net zero.

“This solar project aims to build on this and will further reduce our carbon footprint while also helping to reduce our energy costs long-term.

“The project will offset 1.137 tonnes of CO2 in year one and circa 26,658 tonnes over the next 25 years.

“Our annual solar generation will be utilised to power our factory.

“However, it has the ability to power 1,704 houses for a whole year.”

Dundee Airport and the Ministry of Defence were consulted over the proposal and offered no objection.

And planners said in the delegated approval: “Available evidence and consultation responses suggest the proposal would operate efficiently without giving rise to unacceptable impacts on the environment, amenity or safety of the area.”

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