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Sheppy's invest in 150 solar PV panels to reduce costs and go green

Sheppy's Cider and Farm Shop - Installation date: May 2015

Popular Somerset based Sheppy’s Cider are a 6 generation family of cider makers. For nearly 100 years they have produced their award winning cider from local and home-grown apples at Three Bridges Farm, Taunton.

Sheppy’s Cider are high users of electricity for their cider works. They recently had to upgrade their transformer as their 80kVa supply just wasn’t big enough.

Sheppy’s had already invested in an on-site natural waste management system and wanted to further expand on their green efforts by reducing their requirement on fossil fuel generated electricity. Louisa Sheppy, Director, explains. “There has been lots of news about the incentives to invest in PV, which were attractive. We had a new production building built within the last few years and it had been designed to take PV panels. With PV being an easy care way of reducing our carbon footprint and saving on electricity costs we wanted to look into the possibilities further”.

Sheppy’s Cider had preliminary discussions with other solar PV suppliers who had left them rather uncertain about the performance figures of the system on offer. Following discussions with Mypower, Sheppys felt that they were the most reliable and offered the most confidence and knowledge when it came to business solar panels.

Ben Harrison of Mypower explains why he believes farm shops and similar enterprises are perfect for commercial solar energy systems. “Farm shops attract a demographic who understand the wider environmental issues we are faced with. Sourcing local produce is often a key requirement to customers and such farm shops have utilised this to successfully promote their business. The next logical step is to source inputs locally, using electricity produced from your own roof, car park or adjacent land will help demonstrate to customers that there is a wider picture to consider and help to put such businesses one step ahead of competitors. Whilst businesses may think it will be difficult to convey the use of the technology to customers, it is very easy and cost effective to do. A simple TV screen connected to the internet can show customers how much solar electricity you are producing and using on site, together with the carbon savings and environmental benefits.

Electricity prices continue to increase and with the recent price hikes of around 10%, electricity costs are having a significant impact on the bottom line. On site sourcing of electricity from your own Solar PV brings the cost per unit down by around 2/3 to 4 to 5p per kWh. Farm shops, garden centres and and businesses with refrigeration are perfect businesses for solar as they are high energy users 6 or even 7 days a week with the highest demand from early spring to late autumn when solar production is at its highest. Whilst solar can be a relatively high priced investment, the saving in energy cost and 20 year subsidy with a high quality, well installed system can give a return on investment of 12% to 16% and a payback of 6 to 8 years. Offsetting the capital cost against tax in year 1 via capital allowances can greatly improve these figures further and the tax saving can make the investment cash flow positive within 12 months. Finance is readily available as is third party funding solutions, making such a low maintenance technology available to everyone."

Louisa Sheppy commented. “Investigating the right supplier takes time which can be hard to find and having decided to commit our business to Mypower, the whole job was taken off our hands. Mypower managed the scheme completely and efficiently, so that we could get on with our business. It was all very fuss free and well managed. The panels are hardly visible on the new building and don’t spoil the look of any of the older buildings, a very important factor for Sheppy’s.”

Key facts and predictions - amended to March 2017 rates

• 39kW (150 REC panels) installed by Mypower
• 39,402 units of energy produced per annum
• £5,732 projected first year income and savings assuming 75% of electricity is used on site
• 16.2% projected first year return on capital invested, before capital allowance benefits.
• 4.02p p/kwh – equivalent forward purchase price of 880,556 units of electricity over 25
years
• 17 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided per annum
• 6.2 years system payback before finance, tax and capital allowance benefits
• £252,039 is the total projected income and savings over 25 years after indexation

Louisa Sheppy - Director, Sheppy's Cider...

“Investigating the right supplier takes time which can be hard to find and having decided to commit our business to Mypower, the whole job was taken off our hands. Mypower managed the scheme completely and efficiently, so that we could get on with our business. It was all very fuss free and well managed. The panels are hardly visible on the new building and don’t spoil the look of any of the older buildings, a very important factor for Sheppy’s.”