Portsmouth banana firm turns to the sun for help

The MMD units at Portsmouth International Port, covered in 4,500 solar panels
The MMD units at Portsmouth International Port, covered in 4,500 solar panels
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THE sun helps to grow its product, and now it powers the business itself.

Banana importer MMD, based at Portsmouth International Port, has had 4,500 panels put in across its roof.

Costing £1,000,000 and installed by EvoEnergy, they cover three of the refrigeration warehouses on its 22-acre site.

The panels are expected to generate a profit of several million pounds for the firm over their 20-year lifespan.

John Clink, technical and facilities manager at MMD Ltd, said: ‘The installation process was very good indeed.

‘I’ve been impressed with EvoEnergy’s performance throughout and the people working for them did their jobs brilliantly.’

Project manager James Sutton said: ‘The finished system is enormous and is already delivering impressive savings.

‘It generated more than 2MW in power in one day in February recently so when summer arrives on the south coast the panels should perform even better.’

With the shipping service storing more than 18,500 pallets of goods a day, it was impossible for MMD to shut down while the work was taking place.

Mr Sutton said: ‘With dozens of forklifts and vehicles moving in and out, it would have been impossible to use scaffolding.

‘So drawing on our experience of delivering commercial projects we devised a solution that would get the panels fitted and up-and-running quickly with minimal disruption to their day-to-day operations.’

Portsmouth is one of the largest fruit-handling ports in the UK.

MMD Ltd is responsible for handling 95 per cent of the UK’s bananas.