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Solar Panels Offer Farm Over £20,000 Of Savings

04 July 2012Solar Photovoltaic

Mr H is a local cattle farmer. He has recently erected two new 70m long barns to winter his herd. He has also started the construction of a new 4 bedroom farmhouse near to the barns. He has no access to mains gas.

Mr H doesn’t want to use fossil fuels to heat the new farmhouse or provide domestic hot water and originally requested the feasibility of installing a 4KWp solar PV array on the new farmhouse to provide electricity for a renewable heating solution.

Bright Green Renewables assessed the overall situation and proposed a far more innovative and cost-effective solution.

The Solution

Bright Green Renewables surveyed the farmhouse plans and rather than installing a 4KWp solar PV array on the farmhouse, proposed installing a much larger 50KWp solar PV array on the nearby barns. Detailed calculations confirmed that this array would provide the majority of the electricity for the farmhouse with plenty of spare electricity to help run the farm.

With the help of the barn manufacturers a 50KWp solar PV array (208 panels) was designed and configured to be placed around the existing natural roof lights.

CentroSolar were awarded the contract for the panels and mounting system as they specialise in fully integrated solar PV solutions which are designed and engineered to work together. 3 off SMA Sunnyboy inverters were specified for the project.

The Installation

The complete array was delivered to site from Germany and within two weeks the mounting system and modules were mounted on the barn roof using an experienced team of roofers and qualified solar PV electricians. A new substation building was also constructed to house the new distribution boards, import/export meters and isolators for the array.

In order to provide an electricity supply to the array and hence allow any surplus electricity to be fed-back into the grid the DNO (District Network Operator) provided a bespoke feed to the farm complex from a nearby overhead 3 phase supply.

The Benefits

Once commissioned and active the 50KWp array was producing well over 10KW, even on an overcast winter day. This will easily provide the daily electrical demands for the new farmhouse and Bright Green Renewables have proposed the installation of a heat pump into the farmhouse to provide central heating and hot water.

Based on the Feed-in-Tariffs available at the time of installation (March 2012) the financial benefits of the system are detailed below. It is estimated that the farmhouse will use around 10% of the array’s capacity with the remainder being available for the farm. For any surplus electricity not used by the farmhouse or the farm an export tariff of 4.2p per KWH was offered by a local utility provider.

Feed-in-tariff £17,240
Saving on electricity bill £2,588
Export tariff £617
Total £20,455 per annum


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