Massive solar PV project exceeds all expectations

A poultry farm is already reaping the benefits of a £1.2 million solar PV project - one of the largest in the UK.

The scheme has seen more than 2,300 panels installed in Shropshire and Mid Wales, including a 150 metre-long (492 feet) ground array of 1,200 panels at Comberton Poultry Farm, Ludlow.

The solar photovoltaic system, which also included 60 metre-long (196ft) arrays of around 1,100 panels on the roofs of three poultry sheds, was supplied by Welshpool-based

Organic Energy and installed by 7 Energy, of Shrewsbury.

Managing director of Organic Energy Andy Boroughs says the installation has already cut farmer Edward Davies’ electricity bills.

He says: “Working with 7 Energy, we have been able to develop a bespoke solar PV system, with the Ludlow site the single biggest installation ever created in Shropshire, and we believe the Powys array is probably the largest in Mid Wales too.

“We provided more than 2,300 SCHOTT solar PV panels. On current readings, the 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 installation produces around 433,472kWh per year. The average house uses between 3,000 - 4,800kWh per annum, meaning the whole system could generate enough power forbetween 90 and 144 homes.

Ground-mounted

The Ludlow site, where the buildings face east-west, was not suitable for a roof installation so the installers created a ground-mounted system which consists of a single framework on a concrete base.

The installation should pay for itself within seven to eight years and Mr Davies is able to take advantage of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT). The tariff pays a rate of 30.7 pence for every kWh generated as both sites were completed before the deadline, after which the FiT for systems more than 50kWh was reduced.

Mr Davies, who has been rearing poultry for around 20 years, says: “We wanted to look at renewable options to hedge our electricity costs.

“We installed these particular panels because of their resistance to ammonia which can be an issue, and so far it’s working very well.”

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