The Poplars poultry farm near Wisbech in East Anglia supplies free range chickens to one of the most well-known supermarkets in the UK. With the majority of its energy use happening during the day, its owners decided that solar power could be the perfect solution.
Having researched the benefits extensively, they decided that the possible returns on offer from the solar Feed-in Tariff were an investment opportunity too good to ignore. Plus, they believed that regulations for energy use would only get stricter in future, so it would pay to be an early adopter of renewable technologies
EvoEnergy was asked to come up with the right solution so, as with every new project, it sent its project management team to survey the site first off.
They found that while The Poplars had a number of buildings that could support a rooftop array, none had a good sized, south-facing roof. In addition to this, the nature of the farm’s business – rearing chickens which, when inside, were kept on wood shavings – would mean that rooftop panels could quickly gather dust, affecting their performance.
Instead, the best solution was a ground-mounted 50 kWp system in an adjoining field. This would allow the panels to capture the optimum amount of sunlight and make them easy to clean and maintain.
John Jewson, owner of The Poplars, comments;
“Energy wasn’t the cheapest and they weren’t the dearest, but they were very professional, they’d won awards and were very knowledgeable. I was spending family money, and serious money, so I had to find someone I can trust. One day hopefully this will be my pension.”
Although the panels would be overlooked by several houses, the planning application went through without a hitch – with neighbours even writing in support of the plans. Now complete, the system meets around 50 per cent of the farm’s annual energy needs, while feedback from the owners and local residents has been overwhelmingly positive.