Renewable energy specialist to help HTA members cut costs

The HTA has partnered with Highgrove-based renewable energy specialist, Ecovision as part of its Cost Reduction Programme (CRoP).

The partnership’s aim is to raise awareness of how renewable energy can reduce costs, at the same time as increasing competitiveness and profitability across the nursery and garden centre industries.

HTA commercial manager Tim Bell said: "Ever increasing energy costs has meant that over the last two years the cost of heating nurseries and garden centres has risen significantly.

"Installing renewable energy solutions can play a key role in enabling our members to become independent of the big six energy companies and their volatile energy prices, allowing them to take control of and reduce their energy costs.

Ecovision managing director Chris Adcock said: "If 30 per cent of the HTA membership adopted renewable heating technology we estimate that would be worth over £10 million per annum to garden centre owners and growers in the form of government income and reduced heating costs."

Under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) the Government is encouraging users to replace existing fossil fuel heating systems such as oil, LPG and gas with one of the supported renewable technologies, which include ground and air source heat pumps and biomass boilers, by paying a tariff for every kilowatt hour of heating generated by a renewable energy.

The RHI tariffs will be adjusted upwards for inflation and index linked payments are then made quarterly for the next 20 years.

Adcock added: "Using a traditional oil fired boiler to heat and provide hot water to a garden centre of 2,000 m2, costs in the region of £20,000 a year in oil.

"With an investment of around £80,000 it is possible to switch from an oil fired boiler to a renewable energy 125kW biomass boiler system and make a combined saving against previous oil costs, plus the RHI tariff, of around £25,000 a year.

"Based on returns often in excess of 20 per cent per annum, payback is typically achieved in five years or less. The RHI tariff will continue to be paid, providing a regular income.

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