Waitrose Leckford Estate Installs Rooftop Solar Array

The Hampshire farm of one of the UK’s best-known food and drink producers and retailers is now producing its products using the power of the sun, cutting its energy bills and reducing its environmental impact.

The new solar scheme, at Waitrose’s 4,000-acre Leckford Estate farm near Stockbridge, is designed and managed by top UK solar developer Hive Energy. The panels use daylight to generate energy on the roof of one of its sheds, providing the energy to run its lighting and helping to power the milking machines for its herd of 600 dairy cows.

The 186kWp system creates enough energy to power the equivalent of 40 homes*. The panels will also save around 71,543 Kg of harmful carbon emissions every year for their 25-year life**.

Hive Energy surveyed, designed and will maintain the solar PV (photovoltaic) panel system at no cost to Leckford Estate. The panels were installed by Martifer and the system was up and running in just 8 weeks. It has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hive Energy to buy the energy generated at a substantially reduced rate compared with the open market. Hive retains the Feed In Tariff (FIT) offered by the Government, which enables it to install the system at no cost.

Andrew Hoad, Head of the Leckford Estate, said; “Waitrose has made a firm commitment to reduce its carbon emissions and installing solar panels at the Leckford Estate farm is just one of the ways in which we’re trying to do this.

“Making our own renewable energy on-site is also a great investment for our business. “It means our milking parlour has a significantly lower carbon footprint.”

Hive Energy’s Commercial Director, Tim Purbrick, said; “The next time customers drink Waitrose milk, they can enjoy it even more knowing that it was produced with the power of the sun. “We’ve seen a real surge at the moment in switched-on companies like Waitrose wanting to use solar energy to power their business. It not only makes them greener but is also a cheaper, more stable source of energy. This has got to be good for the environment and for British business too”.

Waitrose is one of the few major retailers that grows some of its own produce. Its 4,000-acre Leckford Estate provides a range of produce for Waitrose stores, including milk, poultry, mushrooms, apples, pears, rape oil, sparkling english wine, cider and apple juice , many of them identified by the Leckford logo either on the packaging or at point of sale.

The Leckford Estate was purchased by John Spedan Lewis of Oxford Street in 1928 as his private estate. It runs many initiatives to ensure its impact on the environment is minimised and environmental gain is achieved. Initiatives range from growing energy crops and following best practices for recycling and waste minimisation, to the use of renewable energy sources and recycling mushroom compost on its arable crops.

Hive Energy has also provided solar energy for another well-known drink producer, Clipper Teas, at its Beaminster production facility just over the border in neighbouring Dorset. The green energy is being used to power the busy production line that processes and packages its range of healthy and organic teas.

 

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