Suffolk farmer celebrates national award for solar scheme
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk farmer is celebrating after scooping a national award for his solar scheme.
William Notcutt, of William Notcutt Estates, Woodbridge, scooped the Energy Now Expo 2017 accolade for a scheme which incorporates biodiversity.
He was one of six farmers rewarded for their innovative carbon reduction schemes. Each received a £500 cash prize.
Now in their second year, the awards celebrate resourceful farmers who not only care about alternative energy to fossil fuels, but have successful renewable installations that stack up financially.
William, who developed eight acres of nursery land at Loudham, near Wickham Market, said he was “proud” to have won the solar title.
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“In the 18 months since commissioning, over 1.5megga watts of energy have been produced,” he said.
“The site had previously been used as a specimen tree container nursery and before this it had been used for the production of field grown trees, roses or combinable crops.
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“As such the site was partly developed with good access infrastructure with perimeter and lateral roads. In line with our ethos, the footprint of the solar farms has been utilised to enhance biodiversity - maximising opportunities for wildlife wherever possible.”
Between the panels, William has created a species and nectar rich bird and wildlife habitat which will support a wide range of invertebrates, small mammals, reptiles and birds.
“We will shortly be introducing an apiary to the site,” he said.
“The prediction is that 625tonnes of CO2 will be saved per year – equating to over 15,000 tonnes during the 25 year life of the project. In 2016 peak daily production of 7696kW was achieved on June 6, and at midday this was 879 kW, enough to boil 750 kettles at the same time.”
All power generated at William’s solar farm is exported through to the grid. In addition to a Feed In Tariff (FIT) payment, a variable export rate has been achieved for the site by working with LimeJump energy, an aggregating renewable energy supplier. Energy Now Expo, established in 2010 is the only renewable energy event specifically for the agricultural and rural sectors and has been held at the Telford international Centre in Shropshire since 2013.