Zurich solar power project goes live

Article | August 3, 2022

Biggest project of its type on the Island on track to generate around 70% of electricity for company’s IOM office

Zurich has officially launched a pioneering solar power project which will provide up to 70% of the electricity for its offices at Isle of Man Business Park.

The company says it’s the biggest project of its type on the Island, and it has been welcomed by DEFA as an excellent example of what Isle of Man Government wants to see businesses doing to help the Island achieve its sustainability goals.

The official launch event – held at Zurich House on July 28th – was attended by Zurich executives and employees, and guests including Dr Michelle Haywood MHK, Political Member of DEFA with responsibility for Environment; Daphne Caine MHK, Chair of the Island’s Climate Change Transformation Board; and former MHK Ralph Peake, now a Director of the Energy and Sustainability Centre Isle of Man.

Speaking about the project, Dr Haywood said: “I am delighted to see a key member of the Island’s business community and valued Biosphere Partner taking such a proactive and forward-thinking step in improving their sustainability. The recently launched draft economic strategy has sustainability at the heart of our future vision for growth and we are committed to supporting businesses to meet their ESG objectives, making a positive contribution both to the economy and to our environment. Many of our Island businesses are starting to make changes to meet sustainability targets and we encourage them to make those investments.”

Bruce Pearson, CEO, Zurich International Life Ltd, said: “This solar power project is an excellent example which demonstrates the strength of Zurich’s sustainability ambitions, both locally and globally. It was jointly funded by Zurich on the Isle of Man, and the Zurich Carbon fund which is supported by our parent company, Zurich Insurance Group. Globally, Zurich is a leader on sustainability in the life industry, and in March this year brought its net-zero targets forward by 20 years from 2050 to 2030. That demonstrates the scale of Zurich’s global sustainability ambitions, and our Zurich House solar power project shows that our team here on the Island are determined to play a part in helping to achieve that target.”

Zurich worked with local business Ardern & Druggan to design and install the solar array which uses the latest photovoltaic cell technology. It has the capacity to generate over 206 kilowatts (206,000 watts) of electricity – enough to power more than 2,000 100watt lightbulbs.

Jason Buckley, Facilities Manager at Zurich on the Isle of Man, thanked Ardern & Druggan for their excellent work on the project, and added: “The solar panels have been installed on a steel framework built over an existing car port, so the visual impact is minimal. In addition to providing around seven months of the annual electricity needs of Zurich House, it will also generate power to recharge electric vehicles. As it stands, we have 540 solar panels but it has been designed to be scalable so, if necessary, more solar panels could be added to increase power generation. The structure also includes a guttering system which harvests rainwater, so that contributes to other measures we have already introduced at Zurich House to use water more efficiently.”

Zurich - launch

At Zurich House to mark the official launch of the solar power project going live are (left to right) Kevin Druggan, Director, Ardern & Druggan; Jason Buckley, Facilities Manager, Zurich on the Isle of Man; Dr Michelle Haywood MHK, Political Member of DEFA with responsibility for Environment; Daphne Caine MHK, Chair, Climate Change Transformation Board; and Bruce Pearson, CEO, Zurich International Life Ltd.