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D J Raker

D J Raker Ltd, arable and vegetable producers in Thetford, are saving over £9,000 on their energy bills.

The Background
With energy prices continuing to rise, there has never been more need for energy security, particularly in the energy intensive agricultural industry. Pressure within the supply chain to demonstrate green credentials means there has been a rapid uptake in
renewables within the agricultural sector.

D J Raker Ltd are arable and vegetable producers based in Croxton, Thetford. In the early part of 2013 brothers Henry and Edward Raker began looking at investing into renewable technologies. They wanted to reduce the electrical overheads of the farm whilst making a return on their investment thanks to government incentives.

Following an onsite survey with Abel Energy, D J Raker opted to install a 50 kW ground mounted solar array.

The Installation
The Raker’s installation was completed in October 2013 and took 10 days to complete. 200 JA Solar 250W panels where installed onto a MAGE aluminium frame, which is fixed in place using helical screws. The panels are connected to 3 SMA Tripower TL inverters which convert the DC generated by the array into AC for consumption.

The installation is installed on poor agricultural land and occupies an area of 500m2, or just over half an acre.

The installation of Solar PV is eligible for the Government Feed in Tariff (FIT). The rates for the tariff vary based upon size of the installation, the FIT is guaranteed for 20 years, retail price indexed and regulated by OFGEM. Combined with the export tariff and import savings the installation of Solar PV offers a secondary tax free income with a return on investment greater than can be offered by a high street bank.

In order for an installation to be eligible for the FIT an installer must be registered under Micro Generation Certification scheme (MCS). In accordance with MCS an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band D or above is required to receiver the higher FIT rate. In the case of D J Raker and EPC exemption letter was required as the system is ground mounted. Planning permission was also acquired for the ground mounted system, as part of the planning conditions a hedge was planted at the back of the array to provide screening. Due to the size of the system a G59 was also required by the distribution network operator (DNO). The installation is greater than 30 kW in output therefore an export meter was fitted, to calculate the amount of kWh exported by the system into the national grid.

“We looked at a number of technologies including an anaerobic digester, however Solar PV was the most attractive option, given the minimal maintenance costs attached”

The Numbers

Abel Energy predict that in Year 1 Raker’s installation should generate:

FIT payment: £5,937
Import Saving: £2,007
Export income: £1,096
Total benefit for 1 year: £9,040
Return on Investment: 15.9% return

*the above figures are based on a FIT tariff of 12.57p and an export tariff of 4.64p

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