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Lower Clopton Farm Shop - home produced food, home produced electricity

Electricity produced from solar PV is really helping garden centres and farm shops to reduce their costs and to demonstrate to their customers that even electricity can be locally sourced, not just the produce they sell.

Lower Clopton Farm Shop near Stratford-Upon-Avon attracts a demographic who really understands the wider environmental issues we are faced with. Sourcing local produce is often a key requirement to customers. Like others, Lower Clopton has focussed on, supplying meat and produce from their own farm and sourcing locally, to successfully promote their business.

Richard and Suzie Baldwyn, the owners of Lower Clopton Farm shop decided to take this concept one stage further. They realised their electricity bills were continuing to increase significantly and were likely to rise a further 30 to 40% over the next 5 years, becoming a major cost to the business. They also felt that the next logical step in "sourcing locally" was to locally source inputs and not just what they sell. They felt that using electricity produced from their own roof would help demonstrate to customers that there is a wider picture to
consider, and this could help put them one step ahead of competitors.

Knowing that solar PV was a good way to produce electricity, Richard wanted to find out if it was financially viable and if it would really stack up. Richard spoke to Ben Harrison of Mypower, to see if solar would be a good investment and way of reducing their electricity bill. "Ben was incredibly helpful and carried out a consultation, survey and feasibility study at no cost" advises Richard. "The figures were compelling, for an initial investment of £28,500 for 30 kW of solar producing 28,000 units of electricity per year, the return on capital was around 14.5% and payback in less than 7 years. Looking long term over 25 years, this meant the cost of our electricity from the solar would be 4.5 pence per unit around 1/3 of what we currently pay and furthermore this price is fixed and won't go up." Richard goes on to explain.

Richard commissioned Mypower to supply and install his solar system on one of his barns in August 2015 and has never looked back. "Mypower had an excellent reputation and their references were good, they did everything they said they would and more, without causing any inconvenience to us. Their in-house installers were very professional and tidy and Ben kept us in the loop throughout the week long project and did all the paperwork as promised. I really had little to do apart from sign the cheque and let Mypower do the rest!

Long term performance

Almost 3 years on, the solar is performing better than anticipated and our bills have come down more than we hoped. We haven't had to do a thing with it, it just works in the background alongside our mains supply, providing us with our own locally sourced electricity."

Ben Harrison commented "It was fantastic to work with a forward thinking farmer like Richard, we have since installed solar at several more farm shops and just recently we installed 150 panels on the Grade 1 listed 1,000 year old Gloucester Cathedral, a world first! What we love about installing solar in such public places is that we can also put in a public display screen for the business to show customers how much electricity is being produced on site and the environmental benefits associated with the solar."

Key facts and predictions - amended to September 2018 rates

• £27,000 - cost exc. VAT
• 30kW installed by Mypower
• 27,600kWh of electricity produced per annum
• 9 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided per annum
• £4,390 - First year income and savings with 75% of electricity used on site
• 16.3% - First year return on capital invested, before capital allowance benefits
• 6.1 years - System payback before finance, tax and capital allowance benefits
• £198,000 - Total projected income and savings over 25 years
• 4.5 p/kWh - equivalent forward purchase price of 616,000 units of electricity over 25 years, plus FiT income on top
• 13.5 p/kWh - Electricity price from supplier. Solar PV provides a saving of 9p (66 %).

Richard Baldwyn - Owner, Lower Clopton Farm Shop...

"Mypower had an excellent reputation and their references were good, they did everything they said they would and more, without causing any inconvenience to us. Their in-house installers were very professional and tidy and Ben kept us in the loop throughout the week long project and did all the paperwork as promised. I really had little to do apart from sign the cheque and let Mypower do the rest"!