Solar panels cut grower's bills

Installation of photovoltaic unit advances Lowaters Nursery's goal for long-term sustainability.

Lowaters Nursery has installed a 50kW photovoltaic solar unit on its site in Hampshire.

The nursery, which produces the Garden Beauty range of plants, expects the system to produce about 30 per cent of its total electricity requirement for the year. Installation was completed in December and the panels are now fully operational.

The move was part of the nursery's environmental policy, which aims to develop the long-term sustainability of the business by reducing the use of water, fuel and pesticides and increasing recycling.

Lowaters is certified to ISO 14001 and in 2010 installed a rainwater-harvesting system that enabled the nursery to become self-sufficient in water.

With the latest venture, production director Charles Carr said: "We are now seeking to become self-sufficient in electricity, helping us to become greener. The solar unit will generate between a third and a half of the electricity we need at any one time."

He added: "We believe that plants are a green product and anything that we can do to make their production more sustainable is important. This is both a business belief and a commitment of the company directors."

Other environmental projects for this year include all colour labels being printed on recycled plastic and trials of peat-free. These have been underway for more than 12 months and the nursery claimed that they are now starting to yield promising results.

KeyStat

30% - The percentage of Lowaters Nursery's total electricity requirement for the year to be produced by its new solar unit.


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