The UK’s largest privately-owned solar photovoltaics installation has gone live at a poultry farm in Herefordshire.
The 300kWp roof-mounted system at Roger Bowen’s Brooklands Farm features 1600 solar PV panels covering 2000sq m of south-facing roof. It will provide 55% of the farm’s annual electricity needs, mainly for heating and ventilating poultry sheds.
The 2,000 square-metre array, on the roof of a farm building in the west of rural Herefordshire, stands at 300kW; 100KW larger than the installation owned by Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis.
It will provide Herefordshire chicken farmer and NFU member, Bowen, with clean electricity that will be used on-site for lighting, powering machinery and to help with the electrical needs of the heating and ventilation systems.
About 50% of the farm’s needs will be met by solar PV and any electricity that isn’t used on site will be sold back to the grid, providing homes with green electricity. But despite the benefits, the installation could be one of the last of its type.
Last month the coalition government announced that all large-scale installations (50KW+) will have their subsidies cut. The level of the reductions means that many farmers and investors will find that the figures no longer stack up.
NFU Chief Renewable Energy Adviser, Dr Jonathan Scurlock, said: “This scale of this project demonstrates that farmers and growers can make a substantial contribution to solar electricity from large rooftops as well as smaller installations.
“It is absurd that the government should now be proposing to clip the wings of a soaring solar sector. This is hardly the way to reward the success and entrepreneurship shown by NFU members as they diversify into renewable energy of all kinds.”