Smurfit Kappa launches innovative solar energy initiative in Colombia

Smurfit Kappa launches innovative solar energy initiative in Colombia

Smurfit Kappa has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art solar panel system in its Colombian Forestry operation.

The Solar One photovoltaic system, which was developed with renewable energy provider Celsia, will generate 50% of the energy needs of the nursery and the entomology and plant pathology laboratories.

The 168 panels that comprise the system will generate an estimated 78,000 kWh/year reducing CO2 emissions by 29.7 tonnes annually.

The new system has been installed in an optimum location in the forestry nursery to maximise exposure to the hours of sunshine available.The nursery has the capacity to produce up to 8 million pine and eucalyptus seedlings per year which are then planted in Smurfit Kappa’s forestry plantations throughout the Colombian Andean region and also used in reforestation projects.

The entomology and plant pathology laboratories that will also benefit from the new solar scheme work alongside the nursery on preventative programmes to identify and study potential forestry pests and diseases. Any programmes that are used to eliminate pests work in harmony with nature and are completely organic.

Ricardo Sierra Fernandez, CEO of Celsia, said: “We are happy to be allies with Smurfit Kappa Colombia, a company that is a leader in environmental conservation issues. Being able to connect the generation of solar energy to feed their needs in that incredible nursery they have in Restrepo, is another example of that leadership. Thanks for trusting Celsia.”

Alvaro Henao, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Colombia, added: “The use of clean and renewable energy is part of our strategic goal of reducing CO₂ emissions which we have made significant progress in through our use of biofuels for self-generation energy in our Yumbo plant, the use of natural gas in most of our operations, and the ongoing capture of CO₂ from the atmosphere in our forestry plantations.

“This new milestone excites and motivates us to continue contributing to the construction of a sustainable future.”

Smurfit Kappa’s Colombian forestry division is held up as a centre of excellence both nationally and internationally due to its strong track record in sustainability and protecting and nurturing biodiversity.