With ties to major retail companies, Place UK is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of soft fruit, vegetables, pasta and more to UK supermarkets and food producers.
K e y S t a t s
CO2 saved per year
92,770kg CO2 saved per year
800 Sharp 250W
The £19m company handles more than 3,500 tonnes of fresh and frozen raspberries, strawberries and blackberries every year, supplying the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer. Having doubled in size, its energy costs and carbon emissions have grown significantly. With two blast-freeze tunnels, cold storage and dry goods stores in operation on site, the firm was using almost three million kWh of electricity annually.
After a series of recent price hikes from the electricity suppliers, the owner contacted us looking for a solar alternative.
The new system was designed to make good use of the farm’s 900 acres. Our team installed 800 Sharp 250W panels in a field 100 yards from the site’s mains power supply, close to the buildings where the majority of the power would be used.
Due to the site’s location in rural East Anglia, the local District Network Operator had to impose an export power limit to avoid the grid being overloaded. This would have cut the new array’s size by 90 kWp.
However, our team devised an innovative Export Power Controller (EPC) using automation technology from the manufacturing sector, which allowed for the full system to be installed for self-consumption purposes while preventing the export limit from being exceeded.
The array was completed in four weeks, as a result of effective project time management. Our team was on site daily throughout the installation, making sure deadlines were met and disruption to the site was avoided as much as possible.
Place UK now has 280 kWp of solar generation on site, generating an estimated £30,000 per year. Being a business that is processing and supplying frozen and chilled produce and equally being a fruit grower of high quality British soft fruit, their green credentials are pretty important to them.
They came to see solar as the right solution for their energy needs after looking at other renewables options, such as wind turbines, but they weren’t right for the company and AD plants were too expensive. PV was a significant investment but it fitted the bill as an affordable option, and given that they planned to use all of the electricity themselves, it also mitigated against some of the risk of future energy price rises.
Note: This is particularly important as, when their factories are not running, their cold stores still use a base load of energy. With the extra PV, that base load can now be powered entirely from solar power, meaning that their energy supply is more secure whilst also reducing their carbon footprint.