UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Partner Zurich International has announced plans for a major investment in solar energy technology which could provide nearly three quarters of the electricity used at its Isle of Man HQ.
The plan is to install a solar panel car port over an existing car park at Zurich House which could provide up to 70% of the office’s electricity, and power for other purposes such as charging electric vehicles. Zurich International has chosen to work with local business Ardern & Druggan. The solar panels, which use the latest photovoltaic cell technology, have the capacity to generate up to 200 kilowatts (200,000 watts) of electricity. That power output is equal to about 130 Mark Cavendishes sprinting at full speed at the end of a Tour de France stage! Or enough to power 2,000 100watt lightbulbs. The project could also help to allow the office to be taken off-grid, which will also help to play a key role in supporting the Isle of Man Government’s Future Energy Scenarios Strategy.
The solar panels project is being jointly funded by Zurich International 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 Task Force.
The plans are subject to Local Planning Authority and Building Control approval. Subject to approval, Zurich International expects that work will begin this month [NOVEMBER] and that the project will be completed by the end of March 2022.
Nigel Simpson, Head of International Markets, Zurich International, said: “COP26, and the ever increasing weight of scientific evidence about climate change, are powerful reminders of the need to intensify efforts to build a sustainable future. Zurich has been a leader on this front for several years, and our team here on the Island have made a fantastic contribution to Zurich’s global group strategy which has sustainability at its core. If we are given approval to go ahead with the Zurich House solar project it would be a big step forward, in the context of Zurich International’s commitment to group objectives.”
The solar power project aims to build on Zurich International’s achievements to reduce waste and save energy. That includes the opening in 2018 of Zurich House which is one of only a handful of buildings on the Island that are BREEAM
accredited. BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects. Zurich House is the only building so far in the global Zurich Insurance Group that’s been built to those standards.
Nigel Simpson, Head of International Markets, Zurich International