Like all fruit farms in the UK, John Collingwood’s 400 acre farm faces fierce competition from fruit growers abroad in France, the US and the Far East. Of the 1500 UK fruit producers present in 1982, only 400 remain. In order to deal with this competition, John Collingwood’s farm needed to find a way to reduce the cost of power for agricultural heating and cooling in his packinghouses and cold storage facilities.
Following a review of the farm, Environmental Energies recommended a multi technology solution, consisting of a 150kW solar PV system and two 32kW biomass boilers. The solar array was ground mounted, optimised according to the available land and is used to power the cold storage facility. While the solar panels take care of the cooling, the biomass boilers supply heat to large spaces in the packinghouses that had previously been unfeasible to heat.
The solar PV system has returned a saving of 80.4 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum, and a generous 17.8% ROI. The biomass boilers have saved an additional 3 tonnes CO2, and the total annual savings and income for both systems amount to over £35,000. By lowering the costs of production, John Collingwood Fruit Farm is now benefitting from greater profit margins and a more sustainable farming model.