Graham Aggio, Site Manager at Glebe Farm, a family friendly farm in Astbury, Cheshire initially started working with Groundwork in 2019/20. The farm planned on installing solar panels to improve their energy efficiency, however their chosen supplier, Cactus Energy, recommended they talked to Groundwork first so they could get the full picture of their energy usage and understand where savings could be made.
Energy audit & solar install
In 2019 Groundwork’s Sustainable Business Consultants conducted an energy audit at Glebe Farm through the Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP) which, as well as the suggestion for solar panels, included small measures such as fitting LED lighting.
Together with Blue Orchid and Cactus Energy, Groundwork supported Glebe Farm with the local grant application.
Cactus Energy installed 180 solar panels at Glebe farm which were estimated to generate outputs of 48.6 kWp. The cost of the installation was roughly £35,000, of which the BEEP project grant funded 40%.
Revisiting Glebe Farm two years after the original audit, Groundwork’s Sustainability Consultant Chris White, received this feedback from Graham:
“The whole thing went very smoothly, from start to finish. And we’re now seeing the benefits from it because of the electricity that the solar panels generate. At the moment we’re on quite a good electricity contract, our pence per unit is quite low, but it’s going to be an even more beneficial when we have to move over to the high tariffs at the end of the summer.”
When the solar panels were installed in 2019 it was estimated they would have a pay back period of 3.1 years on their investment (not including funding from the BEEP grant). Due to increased energy prices this period reduced to just 2.5 years!
Chris was also able to calculate the real time savings of the energy efficiency measures installed post the 2019 audit:
- Cost Savings – In 2019, it was estimated the measures would generate £6,900 annual savings. By 2022, the real savings in 2022 were £8,426
- Energy Savings – In 2019, it was estimated the measures would save 42,764 kWh. In reality they saved 49,796 kWh
- Carbon Savings – In 2019, it was estimated the measures would save 11.9tCOe2. In reality the farm saved 13.9tCOe2
Graham added that the companies next steps would be to look into, once it’s financially viable, on-site batteries which could store the energy they produce for a later time. The current solar panel energy is used in the day but they have a lot of fridges and freezers onsite which need energy 24 hours a day.
If you’d like support reviewing your businesses energy efficiency, with recommendations on how to reduce carbon and save money, speak to our Sustainability Consultants today:
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