Donite Plastics, based in Saintfield, County Down, has developed and manufactured innovative security cabinets for in-house batteries where renewable energy is stored.
Specialising in industrial thermoforming, the company, which is also celebrating its 40th anniversary in business this year, has been working with Project Girona for the last six months to help bring cheaper, smarter renewable energy to households across Northern Ireland.
The partnership with the project, which is spearheaded by Belfast firm, The Electric Storage Company, first began last summer when Donite Plastics was approached to manufacture cabinets to secure and protect batteries storing solar panel generated energy in the home.
“We were really excited to have the opportunity to work alongside The Electric Storage Company on such an important project and venture,” said Patrick Knight, Donite Plastics’ Engineering Manager.
“Sustainability and care for the environment is something Donite Plastics takes very seriously. We jumped at the chance to be able to work on a project that so closely aligns with our company’s ethos.”
Initially, the company required a cover to be manufactured to protect the energy storage batteries from vandalism. However, this quickly evolved to include a cabinet to secure and protect the batteries from dust and water damage for their full, 15-year life.
“The design of the battery cabinets took some innovative thinking on our part,” Patrick explained. “At first, our design encompassed just one side of the cabinet and then it progressed to a total enclosure of two sides clamped together, which offers a higher standard of protection against dust and water.
“We were also able to test the cabinets at our factory to ensure that we were supplying The Electric Storage Company with an effective, durable and extremely high-quality product. We have also re-designed them recently, meaning that the newer cabinets are smaller and more compact whilst still providing the batteries with robust protection.
“We’re proud to support such a worthy cause and to play a role in helping Northern Ireland to become more energy efficient.”
Meanwhile, Anne Marie McGoldrick from The Electric Storage Company commented:
“We’re delighted that Donite Plastics is our manufacturer of choice for the battery housing for Project Girona.
“Our project is all about enabling the residents of Northern Ireland to utilise solar power alongside battery storage in their homes.
“The electricity that will be generated can be used for various things including lighting, cooking and heating.
“Currently, approximately 70% of electricity is generated from renewable sources in Northern Ireland, but 50% of that electricity is discarded because there is no mechanism to store it – that’s where our batteries come in.
“Project Girona is installing batteries in households and solar panels, where required so that people can generate and store all the energy from their roof and use it whenever they need it.
“Once the stored electricity has been used, the smart battery will revert back to the grid so residents will never be without electricity.
“The project is all about proving this design and customer experience before we roll it out further.
“We’re hoping that many more people in Northern Ireland will convert to renewable energy sources and use electric vehicles; it will reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and will lead to a reduction in emissions and air pollution.”
For more information about Donite Plastics, visit www.donite.com or find out more about Project Girona via the website www.gironaenergy.com. Additional information can also be found on the Electric Storage Company’s website.