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 projects are on a larger scale, and has some significant and interesting features.
In February 2019 visitors to the Hook Norton Sports & Social Club will have noticed that we now have another PV system installed across 5 different roof slopes with a similar capacity to our installation at Banbury Plant Hire. the roof pitch is steeper, and we are finding that this array is giving slightly better performance with the low winter sunshine. A typical bright winters day is giving us about 100kWh, which is enough power for three typical households in Hook Norton. The power from this array is helping reduce electricity costs for the Sports and Social Club, and HNLC are selling the excess and receiving some feed in tariff (FiT) income as well. We hope to integrate this with PV we will install when we build our eco homes on the adjacent land.
This project was completed by Chipping Norton based EcoSunpower who supplied the photograph below.
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 grid connections were 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 have been generating power since 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.
Many thanks to James Tomalin of Oxford Digital Media for the aerial photography.