sheep and solar panels

Don’t let your excess electricity go to waste

With the help of ground source heat pumps, you can convert the electricity generated by on-site renewable technologies, such as hydro, wind and solar, into valuable sustainable heat that can be directed towards lucrative new commercial enterprises. And you’ll get paid by the Government to do it!

Many rural landowners generating surplus clean power through ‘behind-the-meter’ renewable schemes could be faced with the prospect of seeing potential profits flow back into the grid.

The National Grid is currently at capacity across much of the UK, with some areas under strict embargoes prohibiting paid battery storage schemes, whilst battery storage for private use is an expensive option with no subsidy support available.

Ground Source Review Todridge Farm

And as of April 2019, estates featuring new solar photovoltaic (PV) panel installations will not be paid via the export FiT for excess electricity exported to the grid. This means that until Government implement the market-based replacement regime, there will be a hiatus during which any surplus power will inevitably be given away for free. And even once this is implemented, no floor price has been set beyond companies having to pay more than 0p, creating uncertainty over pay back.  Read Kensa’s blog about this, here.

Rather than seeing this as ‘lights out’ for renewable income generating opportunities, Kensa is encouraging rural landowners to consider that ground source heat pumps can turn this excess electricity into useful, renewable heat. You can use this to diversify your business, as well as further reducing your energy bills and emissions, plus earn a guaranteed income through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) on the renewable heat produced.

 

Ground source is a switched on solution

Ground source heat pumps are electrically powered devices that harness the natural heat energy freely available from ground or water sources and upgrade this to provide 100% sustainably sourced and renewably produced heating and hot water. The technology produces three times more energy than it uses, and can provide low cost and efficient heating to everything from farmhouses and holiday cottages, to animal enclosures and storage facilities.

Kensa is seeing many entrepreneurial landowners with existing on-site generation schemes investing in ground source heat pumps and directing the heat into a variety of income generating activities, such as commercial drying processes, producing fertiliser from animal waste or rock salt for crisps, or for keeping greenhouses at an ambient temperature. As these ground source systems are eligible for generous funding from the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the equipment costs will in most cases be quickly recouped.

 

A double-win for East Shaftoe Farm

Farm buildings with ground source heat pump

For example, one arable farm in Northumberland replaced an old oil boiler with a cascaded ground source heat pump system to provide heating to a farmhouse and outbuildings at a much lower cost, whilst also receiving 20 years’ worth of quarterly payments from the RHI.

By integrating the ground source heat pump system with the wind turbine and solar panels already on site, 100% of the farm’s energy needs are now supplied by renewable technologies. The owners have also directed some of the heat energy into a hydroponics system, allowing them to effectively diversify their business by creating a new, future-proofed income stream. Read the case study, here.