Shropshire farm installs renewable energy options
Environmental consultancy E4environment, which advises clients on waste, renewable energy and environmental issues, originally established the partnership with leading agronomy and land management advice company Agrovista UK, through its farm business consultancy Agrogate. Shrewsbury based Salop Energy is a new partner in the offering, which considers the prospects of generating electricity through the use of wind turbines, anaerobic digestion and solar PV (solar photovoltaic) technology under the Government‘s feed-in-tariff (FIT) programme.
David Sockett owner of Upper House Farm near Shrewsbury, a combined beef, sheep and poultry operation of 550 acres, had originally considered wind turbine technology but after advice from E4environment and Agrogate recently completed the installation of 204 PV modules, combined with three SMA tri-power three-phase solar inverters. Generating in the region of 42,000kw per annum it will earn the farm £13,800 per year through FIT income. Although prices have varied recently a similar system would typically be an initial investment of approximately £65k.
David Socket said: “With a roof at an excellent pitch and exactly south facing, we decided to go for a solar PV system which we plan to have paid for in six years, leaving 19 years of income from the FIT. As farming and agriculture looks to diversify, investments such as this have a number of benefits, the return on investment, reduction in carbon footprint and a positive attribute in terms of supplying produce to supermarkets and outlets listening and acting upon the demands of an environmentally conscious and discerning public.”
Mandy Stoker, director at E4environment, said: “When we set this service up our aim was to make it as easy as possible to understand and implement, so farmers like David Sockett have no need to endure the arduous task of researching products and suppliers, thus freeing time to do what they do best, manage their farms. Upper House Farm is a great example of where the process has worked.”
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