Thursday, 5 April 2012

Sunshine Harvest On The County Farms Estate

Tenant farmers across some of Cambridgeshire County Council's farms estate are celebrating following the installation of four new solar panels.

The panels have been put onto barn roofs on farms at Ramsey, Parsons Drove, Littleport and Shingay near Bassingbourn.

They have been funded through the Better Utilisation of Property Assets (BUPA) project, where the Council invest in the estate to improve financial returns and increase the value of the farms. The panels are already reaping returns and are projected to produce 70,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) per year over the 25 years of the Governments Feed in Tariff scheme, that's enough to supply 20 houses each year.

Although only put up a month ago, the four sites have already produced more than 4,000 kwh, saving 2.4 tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere. The tenant farmers at each site will use this energy, with any surplus being exported to the National Grid.

Councillor Steve Count, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Farms Estate and Principal Management Surveyor Robert Smyth visited County Farms tenant Dale Abblitt at his holding in Ramsey to see the new panels. Dale said "I'm really pleased that the Council have invested in my holding and put panels on my barn. I benefit from lower electricity costs at a time when everyone is predicting conventional energy prices to rise."

Councillor Count added "We're very excited about this renewable energy project as it helps the Council reduce CO2 production, whilst giving farm tenants access to cheaper electricity. Altogether a sound investment."

The Cambridgeshire Farms Estate has 13,500ha and 250 tenant farmers, making it the largest of its kind in England and Wales.