North Wales road haulage company Farrall’s Group has installed a 1,400-panel solar array at its headquarters as part of its sustainability drive.

The new system, which has been fitted on the roof of the company’s offices and warehouse on the Deeside Industrial Estate, will supply almost half the company’s electricity and takes it completely off-grid when the sun is shining.

The work has been carried out by Wrexham-based solar energy specialists Rawson Solar, on time and on budget, and is expected to pay for itself in four- and-a-half years.

The new system will generate half a million kilowatt hours of power a year, 48% of Farrall’s annual energy usage and with the days lengthening the system is already providing all Farrell’s energy needs.

Farrall’s has also had Rawson Solar install a small 100-panel system at its premises at Ashton Hayes near Chester, where they are also planting trees for carbon offsetting.

The company, which was founded in 1956, also has major sites at Newport in South Wales, Telford in Shropshire and a second Flintshire site in Sandycroft.

MD Matt Farrall, the third generation of the family to head the firm, said: “Going green is quite a challenge for us as the main thing we do is drive trucks and pump out carbon but we’re pushing as hard as we can to become net zero.

“We have looked at electric lorries but the issue is the range although we do have a smaller delivery vehicle on order for local use.

“We use a lot of electric forklift trucks in the warehouse which obviously require power to charge and we are looking at a second phase here at our headquarters of the same size as Rawson have installed.

“Our industry is getting there. The biggest barriers are the cost and the lack of infrastructure but we’re working with other hauliers to share charging networks.

“We have a sustainability project and we offset our carbon usage. As well as the solar array we have rainwater harvesting which is used to wash the trucks and for the toilets.

“We have electric vehicle chargers installed for cars and are getting more and we’re encouraging staff to at least go to hybrid vehicles while from this year company cars will be all electric.

“We’re really trying our hardest and the biggest challenge is being financially sustainable to allow us to be energy positive but doing it is a no brainer and we should and will be doing more.

“We’re not going to change the picture nationally but if we can have an impact locally with improving air quality and getting to net zero that’s enough for me.

“I’ve got a young family growing up in Chester and I want to improve the quality of life for future generations.”

Rawson Solar, part of the Rawson Group, is headed by Gregg White, who oversaw the installation, which was completed ahead of schedule, despite a winter of heavy rain and high winds.

He said: “It was a lengthy job to deliver but it was carefully planned with the different teams involved and we actually finished a couple of days early despite the weather.

“The way energy prices have rocketed for businesses which don’t get the protection of the domestic energy cap, it’s going to be extremely beneficial for Farrall’s and makes sense for them with the massive roof area at their base.

“It’s a sunny day today and they’re fully off-grid with the system kicking out 150 kilowatts at the moment.”

Farrall said: ”Rawson have done a fantastic job for us. From the point of signing the order they just took over and showed us what they would be doing and the system worked from day one.

“Right now we’re running purely on solar and this is just the first little step for us in our sustainability plan. Rawson will be doing phase two here at Deeside and I’d recommend them to anyone. They do a fantastic job.”