A Peak District sheep farmer in Buxton is making healthy returns – calculated to be around 16% gross – from a solar PV system that is reducing his energy and fuel bills.
Edward Piekos of Shallow Grange Farm is generating electricity, heating water and powering EV chargers at his farm in the Peak District.
Hang on… PV? EV?
PV – photovoltaic (the conversion of light into electricity)
EV – electric vehicle (using electric motors for propulsion)
Edward explained: “We had a 10kW system installed nine years ago, so I knew a bit about solar, but… I wanted a much bigger 50kW scheme, and I wanted it to run immersion heaters for hot water and EV chargers.”
He continued: “Most of our 110-acre farm is dedicated to sheep farming, but four acres is dedicated to a small campsite.
“We want to make our campsite as sustainable as possible, so using renewable energy and reducing our CO2 emissions was very important to us.”
A system was designed to use all of the farm’s available roof space for solar panels.
The electricity generated powers the farmhouse, farm and campsite – which includes electric hook-ups for visitors.
Any excess electricity produced is diverted to immersion heaters which heat water for the main house and campsite facilities.
The installation is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions on the farm by around 20 tonnes every year.
But it didn’t stop there.
Keen to grow an environmentally-considerate business, Edward also wanted to offer his customers the opportunity to charge electric vehicles at the site.
He installed two EV chargers, which have a 3-phase meter allowing Edward to provide a set amount of electricity to customers using dedicated payment meters.
Edward said: “The EV charging will become a real unique offer for us, and I’m excited to see it in action this season, and to fully understand what the 50kW system will do to our summer high season electricity costs.
“I’m very confident, as even over the winter we have seen a reduction in the wood and propane gas we’ve been using to heat water at our site.
“Our investment is already paying off and it’s certainly reducing the amount of CO2 we generate.”