AN energy firm has turned to the sun to boost its success.

Reef Solutions has installed 1,000 solar panels — enough to power 60 homes for a year — in one of the biggest contracts of its kind.

The firm, based in Worsley Road North, Walkden , took less than three weeks to install the panels on the roof of the Halewood International’s Huyton production plant in Merseyside.

The plant produces big name brands including Lambrini, Crabbies and new soft drink, Faith.

The 250 kWp (kilowatt peak) system will generate more than 200,000 kWh hours of electricity each year and will help to reduce the carbon footprint of the factory’s 24-hour manufacturing operation.

Terry Crawford, from Reef Solutions, said: “Companies with large manufacturing facilities like Halewood can really benefit from solar energy. Not only do they have the roof space to accommodate the installation but, with the rising cost of energy, converting part of their energy requirements to renewables also reduces overheads and mitigates the risk of future energy price rises.

“This installation has an estimated payback period of just six years, after which energy savings and feed in tariff revenues will become an income stream for the company so there will be clear financial and environmental benefits.”

Reef Solutions estimates the financial return on investment will be more than £40,000 in just one year as a result of energy savings and National Grid feed-in tariff.

This will rise over time as feed-in tariffs are linked to inflation and energy prices will rise.

Lucy Dixon, a spokesman for Halewood: “Reef Solutions’s expertise is helping us select the technologies that will genuinely help us achieve our carbon reduction objectives and we will continue to pursue those objectives as an integral part of our commercial strategy.”