Woodlands Organic Farm in Lincolnshire has been home to the Dennis family for four generations. It’s current custodian Andrew Dennis is something of a celebrity in farming circles, having been named Radio 4’s Farmer of the Year in 2009.
His farm’s unique mix of organic and biodynamic arable crops, sheep, cattle and horticulture is matched by its ambitions for sustainable, low-impact living in everything it does. So renewable energy proved an excellent fit.
EvoEnergy was commissioned to install a large 137 kWp rooftop PV system on top of the farm’s main packing shed, where packaging and storage facilities use the majority of the power consumed on site.
Finished in less than four weeks, the 560-panel array is now generating up to 118,000 kWh of electricity a year – enough to make the whole farm entirely self sufficient, including large heating and cooling systems for several refrigeration systems.
As well as the reduced carbon footprint – 62 tonnes of CO2 annually – the PV has brought the farm a new income stream of between £30-40,000 a year. The Feed-in Tariff, which pays the farm for every unit it it generates and every unit it exports, means the system is making money for the farm every day, whatever the weather.
Andrew Dennis comments;
“I was keen to have them for philosophical reasons. It’s a very good fit with what we are trying to do here on the farm, but it’s also a good investment. The system should produce a financial return of around 12 per cent a year – when you consider what you would get if you put the money into a deposit account instead, that’s an important factor.”
Woodlands Organic Farm is heavily involved with its local community, welcoming members of the public and school trips for open days and running a delivery box scheme to provide seasonal produce to homes across the East of England. Its solar array now serves as a showcase for renewable power generation in agriculture for hundreds of visitors a year.