The environmental achievements of Caplor Farm have been featured in the latest edition of Energy Now. The magazine promotes renewable energy in rural areas, and is read by 15,000 farmers/landowners.
* Since the article was published, Caplor has had some good news. Firstly, the size of the solar PV system has increased to 9.72kWp, so it will now deliver annual carbon savings of 4.6 tonnes. Secondly, it has been announced that feed-in tariffs will be higher than initially expected: Caplor will receive 36p for each unit it generates, and 3p for each unit it exports.
Here is the article that was published:
Caplor Farm in Herefordshire is harnessing wind and solar energy to deliver significant financial and environmental benefits.
The farm grows 150 acres of potatoes annually and has significant energy demands due to the need for potato and vegetable grading and cold storage, in addition to cereal drying and other general use.
In June 2009, Caplor Farm installed an onsite 15kW wind turbine that is providing approximately 15% of on-farm energy demand. Whilst the Herefordshire cattle in the fields below continue to graze undisturbed, the turbine above them is generating enough electricity to deliver savings of over £3,000 and 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.
Building on the success of the wind turbine, Caplor Farm has secured 50% grant funding from RE:think Energy to install a 6.12kWp* solar photovoltaic (PV) system in early 2010. This system is projected to generate 5,100 units of electricity per year, and to deliver annual carbon savings of almost 3 tonnes*.
The financial savings to the business are considerable, especially given the trend of rising electricity prices. The average domestic price of electricity has risen from 7p per unit to 13p per unit in just eight years. According to a recent energy report by Ofgem, energy bills will increase between 14% and 25% by 2020, and will potentially increase by up to 60% in the interim.
Moreover, under the government’s new feed-in tariff scheme, the business expects to receive fixed payments of 31p* for each unit of electricity the solar PV system generates from April 2010.
On top of the financial savings, generating electricity from renewable sources brings significant environmental benefits. Indeed, in 2009 Caplor Farm won a West Midlands C+ Carbon Positive Award for cutting its carbon footprint.
Inspired by the huge potential of renewable energy systems to power farms, small businesses and domestic buildings, Caplor Farm is now diversifying into
renewable energy installation. Caplor designs, supplies and installs renewable energy systems. It specialises in installing solar hot water, solar PV and heat pumps.
Locally, Caplor installed a combined system of solar hot water panels and heat exchanger for the horticultural business Haygrove, which grows fruit and employs 1,000 people annually. This system supplies hot water for over 100 people to shower on a daily basis, and was eligible for 100% first-year capital allowances under the Enhanced Capital Allowances scheme.
Farm owner Gareth Williams commented ‘we want to make other rural businesses aware of the benefits of sustainable energy. With the threat of global warming, rising energy prices, grant schemes and government incentives, now is the time to invest in renewables’.