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Case Study:
Sheppy's Cider and Farm Shop

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

Sheppy's Cider and Farm Shop - installed in May 2015

Popular Somerset-based Sheppy’s Cider are a six-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 works are high users of electricity. In fact, they had to upgrade their transformer because 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 their green efforts by reducing their requirement on fossil fuel generated electricity. Louisa Sheppy, Director, explained: “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”.

While Sheppy's had preliminary discussions with other solar PV suppliers, they were left feeling rather uncertain about the performance figures of the systems on offer. Following discussions with Mypower, however, Sheppys felt that they were the most reliable, confident and knowledgable supplier of business solar panels.

Key facts and predictions - amended to September 2019 rates

  • £28,700 - cost excluding VAT.
  • 39kW (150 REC panels) - installed by Mypower.
  • 39,402 - units of energy produced per annum.
  • £4,679 - projected first year income and savings, assuming 75% of electricity is used on site.
  • 16.3% - projected first year return on capital invested, before capital allowance benefits.
  • 4.53p p/kwh - equivalent forward purchase price of 880,556 units of electricity over 25 years.
  • 17 tonnes - CO2 emissions avoided per annum.
  • 6.1 years - system payback before finance, tax and capital allowance benefits.
  • £249,065 - the total projected income and savings over 25 years after indexation.


Sheppy's Cider and Farm Shop

Ben Harrison of Mypower explained 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 facing. Sourcing local produce is often a key requirement for customers, so farm shops have utilised this to successfully promote their businesses. The next logical step is to source inputs locally, using electricity produced from their own roof, car park or adjacent land to help demonstrate to customers that there's a wider picture to consider. This also puts such businesses one step ahead of their competitors. While businesses may imagine it's difficult to convey the use of solar technology to theircustomers, it is actually 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. Onsite sourcing of electricity from your own solar PV brings down the cost per unit by around two thirds, to 4 to 5p per kWh. Farm shops, garden centres and businesses with refrigeration are perfect for solar as they are high energy users six, or even seven days a week, with the highest demand from early spring to late autumn when solar production is at its highest.

"While solar can be a relatively high-priced investment, the saving in energy costs with a high quality, well installed system can give a return on investment of 12% to 16% and a payback of six to eight years. Offsetting the capital cost against tax in year one via capital allowances can improve these figures further, and the tax saving can make the investment cash flow positive within 12 months. Finance is readily available, as are third party funding solutions, making such a low maintenance technology available to everyone."

Sheppy's Cider and Farm Shop

“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.”

Louisa Sheppy, Director - Sheppy's Cider Ltd

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