Saturday, 31 July 2021

Local farm reduces emissions with solar

FLOATING solar panels have been installed on a Wargrave fruit farm.

More than 800 panels were put in place on a reservoir at Sheeplands Farm, off Wargrave Road, last week.

They can provide 200kw of power and by being on the water, they don’t take up land meant to be used for agriculture.

The £250,000 installation will be used to power the pump that sends water from the reservoir to the farm.

Owner Mark Bennett believes the panels could earn him more than £20,000 a year in government subsidies as well as saving him about £24,000 on energy bills.

Mr Bennett has signed a deal with French firm Ciel et Terre, which developed the floating panels, to roll out the scheme across the country.

He said: “My dream for our farm was to make it carbon neutral, which meant cutting out emissions. We had 600 solar panels here already and with the 800 on the reservoir I believe we have achieved that.

“Now we want to roll that out to other farms across the area and the rest of the country. We’ve already had quite a lot of interest.

“The launch of our new installation signals what we hope is a revolutionary new alternative for owners of large used, and unused, bodies of water who are wanting to generate both renewable energy and sustainable income. The technology is durable, cost effective and flexible.”

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