The company says it’s the biggest project of its type in the island and has been welcomed by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture as an example of what the government wants to see businesses doing to help the island achieve its sustainability goals.
The official launch event was attended by Zurich executives, employees, and guests including political member of DEFA Dr Michelle Haywood, chair of the Isle of Man’s Climate Change Transformation Board Daphne Caine, and former MHK Ralph Peake, now a director of the Energy and Sustainability Centre Isle of Man.
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, chief executive at 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 and 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 in the Isle of Man, thanked Ardern and 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.’