Martlesham Heath: ION Energy achieves astronomical success

A GREEN energy firm based in Suffolk has installed a state-of -the-art solar photovoltaic (PV) tracking system in a property in Norfolk – said to be the first of its kind ever to be installed in a UK home.

Michael Calver, managing director at ION Energy, based at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, said the system is essentially a normal solar PV system but is mounted on a motorised mechanism. This allows the massive 60ft sq panel to turn and tilt and ensures it is always at the optimum angle to the sun.

“It does this by astronomical controls,” explained Mr Calver. “It’s programmed to know exactly when and where the sun sets and rises on any given day.”

Other tracking systems exist in the UK but these monitor the sun’s position through sensors and, said Mr Calver, are less accurate.

He added that his team were very proud to be involved in the project. “It was something comepletely different for us,” he said. “We’re really pleased it went so smoothly.”

The tracking mechanism was supplied by Kirchner Solar Group, which is based in Germany, while other parts are from UK companies, including the Ipswich branch of WF Solar.

The �40,000 tracking system, claimed to be the first of its kind in the UK, has been installed at Boyland Hall, near Long Stratton, which owner Nigel Stringer is aiming to make “carbon negative”.

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Mr Stringer said he hoped other home owners would think about solar energy with the Government paying a 43p feed-in tariff for every kilowatt of energy produced over the 25 year lifespan of the project.

“My original plan was for a fixed system and it went on from there and I was overwhelmed by the idea. It fits in with the architecture of the house and contemporary design,” he said.

“We should be carbon negative by putting back more than we are using and we should at least try to be carbon neutral. Not everyone can achieve a carbon neutral house, but those that can do their bit should do so to help save the planet.”