In April this year – a new 38 hectare (94 acre) solar farm in North Somerset was acquired by Kent County Council (KCC) and LASER, massively reducing carbon emissions whilst saving energy costs for KCC.
Bowerhouse II, recently built by Ethical Power Ltd, consists of 39,000 solar panels and provides 22,000 megawatt hours of green electricity to the grid a year.
“Solar’s a really important part of managing the Energy Trilemma.” Says Nigel Hartnup, Director of Energy and Carbon.
“Increasingly, our public sector customers are working out how they manage affordability of supply and decarbonization, as well as supporting security of supply. It’s more important than ever for our customers to have a plan of how they’ll achieve net zero carbon, and solar is a really important part of achieving that plan.”
LASER Energy will continue to be responsible for the ongoing running of the facility, and Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates provide transparency to consumers on the amount of electricity is generated from renewable sources, like Bowerhouse II. The farm itself has been built on farmland that, traditionally, hasn’t been desirable for growing crops, but offered some value for grazing; an aspect not overlooked in the future vision of KCC’s solar farm.
“The land is low grade agricultural land – approximately 3B and 3C – has historically been used for low yield crop production, and sheep will be used to graze the various fields around the site” says Stuart Whiteford, Director at Ethical Power Ltd.
The decision to build Bowerhouse II will see an equivalent saving 6000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, accelerating KCC’s carbon emissions savings by a third. KCC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Susan Carey, said: “This new solar farm will reduce our carbon footprint by 30% and make significant savings on our electricity costs for years to come.”
Nigel Hartnup continues: “I’m very proud of the role LASER and Commercial Services Group played in supporting KCC through this acquisition and we are looking forward to helping KCC with the ongoing management of the solar farm. This experience has enabled LASER to establish key supply chain routes which we hope to use again in the future to assist other public sector bodies to achieve their decarbonisation goals.”
There is no doubt that these are exciting times for KCC and LASER, and with our good track record of innovative solutions to support our customer’s evolving needs, there are opportunities around joint ventures, power purchase agreements and partnerships, to implement solar across our customers portfolios.