Northern Ireland kitchen manufacturer invests in solar panels

LtoR: Chris McSwiggan, Danske Bank, Richard Nixon, group accountant Exorna, James Kilgore, Danske Bank, and Andy Oliver, MD of Exorna

Exorna, a specialist kitchen manufacturer based in Northern Ireland, has invested nearly half-a-million pounds in equipping its production plant with solar panels.

The 100,000sq ft manufacturing facility in Coleraine has been upgraded with a £435,000 450kW solar panel system that it says will supply the plant with 60% of its annual energy requirements. The investment was backed by Danske Bank.

This follows another recent significant investment from Exorna in a £135,000 roof refurbishment.

The company was founded in 1981 by Willie Oliver and moved into its current facility in Hillmans Way, Coleraine, in 1991. It supplies its fitted kitchen furniture to house builders, property developers, public housing authorities and social housing suppliers, as well as selling direct to consumer through its two showrooms – one 2,000sq ft and the other 1,000sq ft.

Exorna director Andy Oliver said: “Our move to solar energy is a key step in reducing our carbon footprint. Solar energy, being clean and renewable, is integral to our environmental ethos. By generating our own electricity, we gain a measure of independence from the national grid, further enhancing our sustainability practices. Danske Bank has been fully supportive of our company as we have embarked on this latest stage of our sustainability journey.”

Exorna has grown over the past three years and has benefited from more than £1 million in asset finance support from Danske Bank to purchase vehicles and machinery for its production lines. Annual turnover current stands at around £10m.

Speaking on behalf of Danske Bank, business manager James Kilgore said: “Exorna is a great example of a forward-thinking family business that has taken time to understand it’s climate impacts and create a sustainability strategy that not only makes it a more environmentally friendly company but also saves money over the long term. Danske Bank is delighted to support businesses of all sizes as they invest in becoming more efficient and sustainable.”

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