Solar experts, Brilliant Harvest, have designed and installed two solar arrays for the UK’s largest independent cheese producer and milk processor, Wyke Farms.
A year on and the 1st solar panel system has already outperformed predictions by producing more energy than proposed. The two solar arrays are part of Wyke Farms’ ambitious solar project to manage the peak daytime loads that are not currently provided by its anaerobic digester plant.
Fitted by Brilliant Harvest, the first installation of 208 x 240 watt Hanwha Solar Panels form a 49.92kW Solar Array, with 2 inverters, producing 46,200kWhs of electricity per year. The most recent installation is on Wykes new barn at its Champflower Dairy, which holds its largest herd of cows. The barn was specially designed to maximize the potential solar gain. These 117 solar panels will produce an additional 28,121kWhs of electricity. Together this enables Wyke Farms to save around 26 tonnes of CO2 per year. The first installation has already regained over 20% of the initial capital expenditure.
Brilliant Harvest has also fitted an immersion controller as part of the solution to heat the hot water, so that any surplus solar energy can be used on site rather than sold back to the National Grid, resulting in less need for expensive fuel sources like heating oil or propane and dramatically improving ROI.
“We aim to operate our business in a way that has minimal impact on the Somerset environment and to create a truly symbiotic relationship with the countryside that provides our food, our income and our home.” said Rich Clothier, managing director and 3rd generation family member at Wyke Farms. “Part of our 100% Green strategy is to create all our own energy from renewable sources and we designed our barn to purposely accommodate solar panelling to power our dairy.”
“Dairy farms have not typically been set up with energy efficiency in mind and Wyke Farms is unique in its dynamic approach. We are delighted it is meeting its objectives earlier than expected.” said Jeff Ingvaldson, Managing Director of Brilliant Harvest.
Wyke Farms is the UK’s first national cheddar brand to be 100% self-sufficient in green energy with the launch of its Biogas plant in September, visited by Prime Minister David Cameron earlier in the year.