Farming the Sun's Energy!
- Published: Thursday, 05 April 2012 18:22
7 Energy has designed and installed a SCHOTT Solar PV system on two sites at The Comberton Poultry Farm in Ludlow - the largest single Solar Photovoltaic installation completed in Shropshire - and at Cottage Farm, near Presteigne, Powys.
Due to resistance to wind turbine projects by the local community and possible planning issues, a solar PV installation was recommended using SCHOTT Solar PV panels which have undergone and passed rigorous testing specifically with regard to concerns over ammonia produced in poultry and livestock sheds. These are designed to last 25 years. The project has seen 2,310 panels (225kWh) installed, producing around 433,472 kWh a year. Each individual panel will produce 187 kWh per annum.
Site one, in Ludlow, where the buildings were east-west facing and therefore unsuitable for a roof installation, was a ground mounted system of approximately 150m x 14 metres, and consists of a single framework fixed to the ground.
A concrete base was created for the system which will produce 225,072 kWh. The site also had a bank at the rear of the site which was partially utilised to get the tilt angle required. Working with the local network, 7 Energy moved the meter point, which was necessary for the grid to take the increase in power.
Site two in Powys was a roof-based installation with the PV array being fitted to three poultry sheds. The approximate size of each array per roof was 60m x 10m. 7 Energy also designed a support system on the roof for the installation to ensure effective load-bearing and a sprinkler system to clean the panels of any dust created from the installation's fans, therefore maintaining the efficiency of the arrays. Site two will produce 208,400 kWh a year.
Although nearly a year in the planning, once the necessary permissions had been given and groundwork completed, the full installations took three to four weeks to complete.
Based on current readings, the PV system has reduced electricity usage at the sites by 65 per cent and the installation has exceeded its predicted energy capture by 10 per cent.
The average house uses between 3000 - 4800 kWh per annum so the whole system could generate enough power for between 90 and 144 homes.
The installation attracts the Feed-in-Tariff at a rate of 30.7 pence for every kWh generated. Both sites were completed before the August 1 deadline after which the FIT for systems over 50 kWh was reduced. The project cost was in the region of £1.2 million and should pay for itself in around seven to eight years.
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