Hook Norton Low Carbon divides its activity between helping individual householders improve the environmental performance of their homes through advice and low cost loans, and funding larger projects in the community. Generation of electricity through solar PV has been part of our strategy from the beginning, and we have PV installations on the village school and the baptist church. Our latest project is on a larger scale, and has some significant and interesting features.
Banbury Plant Hire is based at Ferris Hill Farm at the northern edge of Hook Norton, and a core part of their business is skip hire and site clearance, and in the modern world, this means recycling, and they now recycle 100% of the material that comes in via skips. Recycling on this scale requires separation and sorting of the materials, and although a lot of this is done by hand, they also have a large machine that looks somewhat like a huge bus (see the photos and you’ll understand) that does a lot of the work. This machine runs on electricity, and until the connections are made, that electricity was coming from large scale generators – not the most “green” solution.
The adjoining open sided barn has a south facing roof, with no shading, so is the ideal place to put solar PV panels:
We have a policy of using local businesses whenever possible, so we obtained quotes and selected the very local EcoSunpower from Chipping Norton to do the installation.
The complications of EPCs, FIT pre-accreditation and the government’s ever changing policies (rarely in the right direction for us!) are beyond the scope of this report, but suffice to say that we scraped though on the deadlines, and the admin was finally in place. the project was financially viable, and we were ready to proceed.
The above image shows the before, and progress was so fast that we were unable to capture any “during” shots so the next shots show the panels fully installed.
We are now waiting for the final connections to be made, and we should be generating power by the end of March 2016. The advantage of this site is that the electrical energy produced by this installation can be used, during the day, when the panels are producing the power, rather than just going out to the grid which would be the case in many domestic installations.
We hope to be able to show the energy being produced on here in the near future.
Many thanks to James Tomlin of Oxford Digital Media for the aerial photography.