Game Birds Enjoy UK`s Largest Solar Thermal Installation

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Renewable specialist, TGE Group has installed the UK’s largest commercial, solar thermal installation, in a flagship project to provide space heating for a game rearing business in Shropshire

“We needed a system that would be simple, reliable, efficient and cost effective. We are delighted with the results and astounded by how much heat can be produced.” Sam Barker

The single, 194kW solar thermal hot water installation will help Shropshire game farmers, Steve and Sam Barker, overcome concerns about the effects of heavy energy use and subsequent rising costs on their successful pheasant rearing business.

On the back of a comprehensive survey, TGE Group designed and installed the 126 panel solar thermal system to provide underfloor heating, divided equally across the two game rearing sheds, with a smaller 7.6kWp solar PV system to support it. The combined, multi-technology systems will reduce carbon emissions from the site by around 34 tonnes per year and the solar thermal project, which is eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and 100% first year Enhanced Capital Allowance, will earn over £450,000 in savings and income over the 20 years of the RHI payment.

“Using solar thermal to heat open spaces shows the versatility of this technology. Traditionally farmers might fit solar thermal for generating hot water for wash downs, when in reality there are a wide range of commercial heating applications that the technology can be used for,” explains Matthew Evans, Heat Director, TGE Group.

TGE Group designed a system that was capable of keeping the high initial heat load required inside each rearing shed constant at 35⁰C, whilst suiting the electrical supply and aesthetic requirements of the site. The optimum output of solar thermal matches the summer pheasant rearing season, enabling the sheds to be used for drying and storing grain through the harvest and winter months. The end result offers a significant 20 year buffer to rising energy costs and, with a generous RHI payment for commercial solar thermal systems reducing the payback to only six years.


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