Solar panels cut garden centre's power costs

Millbrook Garden Centre in Gravesend has seen a 45 per cent saving on electricity bills in the first year compared to the previous 12 months after fitting solar panels.
Manager Matthew Upton said: "We had a 50 kilowatt peak solar PV array installed by NCS Technology on a south east facing roof of the garden centre in late July, 2012. A total of 204 panels were fitted.
"The panels produce electricity in any light. Of course the better the light, the more energy but we still produce some on a grey day in the winter.
"We do not put any electricity back into the National Grid as we use it all due to the lights, kitchen and IT equipment we have on-site. The panels simply reduce our electricity bill."
The panels produce an average of 132 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day.
During the 12 months since the panels were installed, they have generated more than 50,000kWh of electricity, which represents 18 per cent of Millbrook Garden Centre’s total electricity usage over the same period the previous year.
He added: "Not only do we save money by producing our own electricity, we also qualify for the Government’s Feed in Tariffs (FiTs). This means we are paid a rate for every unit of electricity we produce whether we use it or not.
"We have generated 18 per cent of our total electricity consumption and with the FiT income included we have reduced our electricity bills by 45 per cent. This obviously makes a huge difference to the business and we are delighted that the panels have worked so well for us."

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