We completed the installation of Solar PV power generation on the roof of the sports centre at Ditcham Park School over February half term. The school centre was chosen over other buildings following a study by ReEnergise which found it offered the best opportunity based on the structural strength of the roof, the south-facing aspect, no restrictive shading, limited line of sight visibility and ease of connection to the school’s power supply. These characteristics and the fact that the Solar PV provides close to 100% usage of the electricity generated, helped to give the school a healthy return of investment of 16% and payback of 7.9 years.
The solar panels specified were based on a higher rating than standard (monocrystalline, 295Wp), providing the full 50kW array and giving a clean aesthetic appearance, which was important to the school, being situated in the South Downs National Park.
The solar system has replaced 24% of existing grid imported electricity, reducing annual CO2 emissions by a similar proportion. The school has been delighted with the result, saying ‘Very pleased with the work undertaken and really excited to hear it is generating already – thanks so much’ (Bursar & Clerk to the Governors).
It was good to meet so many landowners last week at the Energy Expo in Telford. Energy Expo is a business event for agricultural and rural communities of the UK, providing in depth information and guidance on renewable energy generation and use, diversification ventures, and low-emission vehicle and machinery options.
Many of the landowners we met were very knowledgeable about low-carbon energy and were keen to discuss the opportunities to maximise their land assets, reduce their energy bills by getting off oil or LPG, and to install district heating systems on their farms and estates. We talked a lot about the development of Heat Pump technology and dispelled the myth that it isn’t suitable for leaky old buildings! We were also able to spread the word that the subsidy regime for renewable heat generation (RHI) is closing for new entrants on March 31st 2021, so now is the time to take advantage of the large sums of money the government is giving out to encourage people to switch from oil and LPG to clean low-carbon technologies.
Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuiness’s appearance in 2 EV cars spiced up the second afternoon as they filmed a segment for Top Gear at the Event!
ReEnergise sponsored a CLA Breakfast Seminar to talk to CLA members about Community Energy – how it works with a low-carbon technology district heating system, and how to finance it. It was great to see so many landowners at the seminar and the genuine interest in district heating systems. Thanks go to Robin Edwards, Director CLA South East for hosting the event and introducing ReEnergise.
We were fortunate to have Alastair Deighton, Estate Manager, Firle Estate to open the seminar and discuss Firle Estate’s experience with the biomass boiler they installed a couple of years ago to heat Firle Place, as well as the plans to install a community district heating system for the village. Alastair enthused about how successful the biomass has been, and how exciting the Community Energy project will be. Alastair explained that low-carbon technology should become the ‘norm’ for heating rather than being thought of as an ‘exotic’ new technology which is difficult to understand.
This was followed by Bean Beanland, ReEnergise low-carbon specialist who ran through the use of Heat Pumps and Biomass in a district heating system, and the conditions needed for each to work efficiently. Bean covered Government Policy on renewables in general, as well as providing up-to-date information on the subsidy regime, including the point that the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) is being closed for new applications on 31st March 2021. For the Firle Village Community Energy system, Bean explained that the village will be split into 3 districts, with the first district being heated by a biomass boiler, and the other two using a shared ground loop heat pump system: the latter an approach being firmly encouraged by the Government.
Finally, Kayla Ente, Founder of BHESCo (Brighton and Hove Energy Services Cooperative) explained the mechanics of how Community Energy works – including the financing and servicing of the district heating system. Kayla demonstrated her commitment to helping villages reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and the importance of getting the community involved so that residents can take control of their heating, both in terms of efficiency and cost.
There was a very informative question and answer session at the end of the seminar. If you would like to see the full presentations from the seminar, please contact Belinda Lyster-Binns on [email protected].
The Barlavington Estate near Petworth is a 3,200 acre diversified rural business which embraces agriculture, woodlands, residential and commercial property. It is a picturesque estate in the South Downs National Park with a keen focus on environmental management.
The owner of the estate is on the board of the National Park Authority and is well liked locally for his work in restoring local heathland and for organic farming. He has always been keen on embracing low-carbon energy options and hired ReEnergise to assess opportunities for managed energy infrastructure for the benefit of the tenants and the estate itself.
We have provided feasibility reports for a number of renewable energy options for the estate assessing the long-term potential for a managed energy programme on the estate.
So far, we have carried out two solar PV installations:-
- The first was an installation of 115.kW solar PV for the provision of solar power generation to a rural milking parlour. This project has a forecast payback of 4.5 years and total net benefit of over £460,000 over 20 years.
- The second, recently completed, was an installation of 49.95kW solar PV system for a small cluster of tenanted commercial farm buildings. The system now provides zero carbon electricity to the tenants as well as generating revenues for the Estate from the FiT (Feed-in-Tarriff). This project has a forecast payback of 8.4 years and total net benefit of over £125,000.