CAMBRIDGESHIRE FARM HAS SOLAR PANELS WHICH TURN TO FACE THE SUNA new generation of photovoltaic panels which turn to follow the sun to produce solar energy, have been installed at a Cambridgeshire farm.
They will be providing the power to dry thousands of tonnes of grain. The five ground-mounted 'tracking' photovoltaic units are now operating at Scotland Farm, Dry Drayton from which
farmer James Peck runs PX Farms Ltd, a 5000 acre arable enterprise. Several thousand tonnes of the grain produced are stored at the farm and the renewable energy used to dry it will save around £26000 on the annual
electricity bills - some 40percent of the cost - and help the environment.
"I am very excited by this project" said James, former Farmers' Weekly Young Farmer of the Year who is chairman of the Cambridgeshire branch of CLA East. "For some time I have wanted to be involved in renewable energy. I chose solar because energy generation is highest in the summer when our use of electricity is at its highest drying and storing grain. I think sunshine is more reliable than wind and a lot less trouble than anaerobic digester.
"These units are especially effective because, like sunflowers, they keeping turning towards the sun as it moves across the sky from dawn to dusk. These are a great improvement on former systems which are static. I believe mine are some of the first to be installed in this country – if not the first."
The five tracking units are sited at ground level close to the grain store to which the power they produce will be sent.
The system was installed by local firm Econergy (Europe) Ltd. Robin Purser of Econergy remarked "We were thrilled to be asked to help James with his project. With a power output of just below 50kWp the system works well with Feed-in Tariffs, the government's renewable energy support programme.
"Ground mounted systems are becoming more popular as people realise the benefits; photovoltaic is not just for putting on a roof."
James was assisted in the detail by farming advisor and Norfolk CLA committee member Lindsay Hargreaves. "The really great thing about this installation is that commercially, it stacks up," he said. "We needed this to pay its way within 10 years on 100 percent borrowed money, which it does. So this is not just a 'win' for the environment, but for James' bank balance too."
Having won a Nuffield Farming Scholarship which has taken him all over the world for 20 weeks to gather data for his paper 'Arable farming, where next and how do we get there', James has seen the way in which many countries are harnessing the sun and employing a whole range of renewable energy sources.
For further information
James Peck or Ailis Macrea on 01954 210211 or 07976 939596
Sally Smith, CLA PR 01553 764422 or 07729 448046
CLA East covers the eastern region of the CLA (Country Land and Business Association). As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners and rural businesses and communities, assessing and commenting upon national and regional policy and lobbying government on their behalf. There is a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support. The CLA has been looking after the interests of its members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership and land management, for over 100 years.
CLA members own approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts the organisation in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.
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Tim has a degree in agriculture and is a qualified Rural Surveyor, specialising in farm and estate management. He lives on his family's farm in Essex. Tim advises and represents members on business management and lobbies all levels of government on key rural issues.
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