Following the sun to generate energy

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Scotland Farm’s new solar panels have made the features section of the Farmers’ Guardian. The article is reproduced below with a link to the original at the bottom.

A new generation of photovoltaic panels which turn to follow the sun to produce solar energy, have been installed at aCambridgeshire farm.

The innovative panels will provide all the power needed to dry thousands of tonnes of grain at Scotland Farm in Dry Drayton,Cambridgeshire.

The five ground-mounted ‘tracking’ photovoltaic units are now operating and the renewable energy will save around 40 per cent of the farm’s annual electricity bill.

Meeting needs
Owner James Peck says: “For some time I have wanted to be involved in renewable energy.
“I chose solar because energy generation is highest in the summer when our use of electricity is at its highest drying and storing grain. I think sunshine is more reliable than wind and a lot less trouble than anaerobic digestion.

“These units are especially effective because, like sunflowers, they keep turning towards the sun as it moves across the sky from dawn to dusk.

“These are a great improvement on former systems which are static. I believe mine are some of the first to be installed in this country – if not the first.”

The five tracking units are sited at ground level close to the grain store, to which the power they produce will be sent.

Robin Purser of EcoEnergy (Europe), the firm which carried out the installation, says: “With a power output of just below 50kWp (peak power at maximum solar radiation) the system works well with Feed-in Tariffs.

“Ground-mounted systems are becoming more popular as people realise the benefits – photovoltaic is not just for putting on a roof.”

Funding
Mr Peck also received funding in the form of a 10-year loan from NatWest and help from farming adviser and Norfolk CLA committee member, Lindsay Hargreaves.

Mr Hargreaves says: “The really great thing about this installation is that commercially, it stacks up.

“We needed this to pay its way within 10 years on 100 per cent borrowed money, which it does. So this is not just a win for the environment, but for James’s bank balance too.”

The original article at the Farmers’ Guardian site can be viewed by clicking here.

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