Grower's solar roof to benefit from Feed-in Tariff

The photovoltaic roof panels on Broadwater Farm's apple and pear cold store will generate thousands of pounds annually.

Newly-installed photovoltaic panels fitted to the roof of a cold store for fruit are set to help a grower generate thousands of pounds.

Broadwater Farm (Howard Chapman) in West Malling, Kent, grows apples, pears, cherries and plums.

The grower decided to install the solar panels for its apples and pears to try to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Solar specialist Photon Energy said the system would help power the store to keep temperatures from -0.5 degsC up to 4.5 degsC for 1,000 tonnes of fruit. This would offer "huge cost savings" through the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) and the generation of free electricity.

Farm manager Peter Checkley said: "Cold storage needed to ensure that fruit is available all year round is often dependent on fossil fuels. This system goes a long way toward solving this problem and reducing our carbon footprint."

Over a year the 84kWp system on 600sq m of roof should generate a revenue of £26,000 and clock up more than 67MWh of power to the cold store, said Photon Energy. The technology will also save almost 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

The installation was made in time to qualify for the new FIT rates following changes by the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Photon Energy technical director Lucy Aitchison explained.

"The large consumption from a cold store maximises benefits of the tariff, especially as it will qualify for the rates set in April 2010," she added.

KeyStat - Amount the 600sq m photovoltaic roof system should generate in annual revenues from the Feed-in Tariff - £26k.

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