First invests £2.5m in solar power across 20 UK depots

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Over 6,000 photovoltaic panels will be in place by mid-June. FIRST

First Bus has invested £2.5m in solar power with the installation of over 6,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels across 20 depot sites as part of its net zero emissions strategy. The investment is the latest step in First Bus’ pledge to reduce the overall emissions generated by its bus operations as it looks to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier alongside its goal of a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035.

As one of the UK’s largest bus companies, First Bus says it is on a mission to make its depots self-sustaining – with the solar panels enabling the 20 sites to generate their own renewable power for lighting, heating, office equipment and the engineering bays. The company says the move will not only help its local bus operations by reducing costs, but it will also significantly reduce each site’s need to draw power from their local grid.

The panels have been fitted to the roofs of a number of its sites, covering an approximate area of over 11,000 square metres. At peak output these will produce some 2,000,000kWh of energy a year – enough to power around 700 standard three-bedroom homes.

Jon Tivey, First’s Head of Environment, said: “We are delighted to announce the rollout of our solar PV programme across the UK, which will help us to significantly reduce our carbon emissions across 20 sites. This is yet another milestone in our transition to a low-carbon future across every aspect of our operations. As one of the largest bus operators in the UK, it’s important that we lead the way in the industry and set an example for others to follow.”

The panels are being installed and fitted by Manchester-based CorEnergy UK, with work on many of the sites already underway. The project is expected to be complete by mid-June.

CorEnergy Managing Director Tom Griffin said: “CorEnergy is pleased to be supporting the ambitious net zero targets committed by First Bus, having been awarded the design and installation of an exciting renewable energy project to introduce solar PV solutions to 20 sites across the UK. In a time where all businesses are striving for carbon neutrality, this successful solar PV project will play a significant role in supporting First Bus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet ongoing net zero objectives.”