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300kW Solar System Installed On Herefordshire Farm

In April 2011 the largest privately owned solar installation to date at Brooklands farm started producing electricity. The 300kWh array was installed on the roofs of the farms poultry sheds with the solar panels covering 2,000 square metres of the south facing roof area. An installation of this size is predicted to be able to generate half the farms annual electricity needs.

To put this installation into context this is about 300 times larger than the average UK domestic solar PV installation. In the UK food production is energy intensive and the energy needed to power this chicken farm would require an array twice this size. Due to the nature of solar it will only produce electricity during daylight hours and will produce more energy than is needed during the longer summer months.

largest private solar array, Brookfileds farmSolar installations such as this are funded by the governments feed-in tariff scheme that pays clean energy providers to produce renewable energy. However the recent government review will severely cut the payments to comparatively large projects such as this making future projects no longer financially viable.

Although the cost of solar is rapidly coming down without this initial solar panel grants it will make it much harder for renewables such as solar to compete with traditional fossil fuels such as coal. The problem is that coal is a finite resource and will run out eventually leaving us with no viable replacement. Investing in solar now means that our energy supply for the future will be secure meaning we will not have to rely heavily on foreign energy imports as we do now.

This is a good example of the use of free solar energy that is available in an unlimited supply from the sun. As the energy produced is to be used on site it makes it more cost effective and more efficient than selling it back to the grid. A similar solar system in a green field that does not get used on site wastes energy and takes up valuable land. Placing the panels on farm roofs takes up no extra space and reduces the farms carbon use over time.

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