Bernard Mathews, the largest turkey producer in the UK, has broken ground on the next phase of its large-scale carbon cutting exercise. By 2020, they aim to have reduced their carbon footprint to zero. A goal it hopes to achieve in part with the installation of 2.5MW of solar PV across 11 farms.
The key driver in the decision was ensuring a greener future for the company, but the greatly reduced running costs are a welcome bonus. Stuart Read Procurement Category Manager opted for Solar “as a safe, non-contentious, low maintenance and low intrusion option that suits our specific energy needs. We will benefit from lower operating costs for years to come.”
RenEnergy has been contracted to finance, design, supply and install 19 roof and ground mounted arrays, consisting of 10,000 PV panels paired with 110 inverters, generating an estimated 2.3 million kWh of energy per year.
“The technical challenges we have encountered are no different than any number of agricultural projects we have completed in the past, but operationally working around the critical timetables of numerous active poultry farms has been tough. Fortunately we have been aided by the excellent support of the farm managers, allowing us to minimise any onsite disturbance to the workers or birds.” Damian Baker, MD of RenEnergy.
Following the switch on of the first system in late March, BM have seen a reduction in grid electricity of 30%, with the site operating self-sufficiently for significant periods of the day. At this one site this saves a whole year’s worth of CO2 emissions from a family car every two weeks.
Phase two of development is following on from the successful installation of 229 biomass boilers and two large-scale solar farms totalling 11MW that formed the first phase of the big green plan.
RenEnergy, who offer a range of renewable technologies to customers across the East of England and South Africa, have been working in conjunction with a London based funder to deliver the project. The ground mount frame design is bespoke; designed specifically for RenEnergy by Wymondham-based firm Hi-Span. The proprietary frame ensures maximum use of the available space.
The installations will use ReneSola PV panels and inverters from the industry-leading Austrian manufacturer Fronius. “Design was key, and was carried out in conjunction with Bernard Matthews agriculture team to get the correct size system to ensure as much on-site usage as possible. Maximising usage year-on-year provides a higher return and increases reliability of the system” commented Mr. Baker.