producing delicious food that is sold up and down the length of the country. So, when the fine-food manufacturer got the opportunity make its operations even more sustainable – by hugely reducing the amount of electricity it imports – it contacted local company SunGift Energy to design a bespoke 400 kW solar PV system.
“Like most food producers, our operations are very energy intensive,” said Charlie Bigham, who started his company in 1996 with the aim of creating mouth-watering pre-prepared meals for people. “Our refrigerators are in constant use, keeping our freshly-made food at optimum temperatures. That’s why this solar PV system will be invaluable, particularly in the summer months. 99.5% of the electricity that it generates will be used by our facility, with just 0.5% being exported back to the grid.
Food manufacturers like Charlie Bigham’s make excellent use of large solar PV systems. Average systems provide around half of the electricity they generate directly to the business, but food manufacturers have continuous energy needs and quite often use every bit of electricity they generate for themselves.
Our solar PV system is generating exactly as expected. We’re very proud of our food production campus at Dulham Quarry – it’s a stylish, high-quality environment with exceptional attention-to-detail – so the PV system had to be designed to perfectly complement this. I’m thrilled with SunGift’s work at Dulham Quarry as they designed a bespoke system to fit our brief, had a wonderful approach and finished the job to a meticulous standard.
SOLAR PV INSTALLATION WELLS, SOMERSET
System specifications: 937 JA Solar 340w Mono black frame modules, 6 x Huawei inverters & 1 K2-Systems mounting system
Size of system: 318 kWp producing 314,000 kWh per year
Annual CO2 savings: 163 tonnes
Year of installation: 2020
including a strict programme of energy monitoring and reduction; switching all of its packaging from plastic to sustainably-source wood; carrying out its own onsite water-treatment; recycling all waste (with none going to landfill and all food waste being anaerobically digested); and closely monitoring its CO2 emissions.
The solar PV system will produce around 314,000 kWh of electricity per year – enough to power the equivalent of 101 average houses and reduce carbon emissions by 163 tonnes each year. Thanks to the electricity that it generates, the system will take less than five years to generate enough savings to pay for itself.
“Since starting the business my goal has always been for Bigham’s to become a 100% sustainable company,” added Charlie, “so, over the past 20 years, we have continually introduced measures that improve our the way we operate. When we switched on our solar PV system I knew we had achieved an important next step in our journey.”
“Despite being an energy energy-intensive operation that has to keep food chilled 24-hours-a-day, Charlie Bigham’s has had sustainability at the heart of its operations from day one,” said SunGift director Gabriel Wondrausch. “That’s why a solar PV system makes sense now more than ever. With constantly-rising electricity costs, a high-quality solar PV provides energy security, reduced CO2 emissions and ensures that businesses are not at the mercy of energy suppliers.”
“Our solar PV system is generating exactly as expected,” said Charlie, “and it was safely installed under rigorous coronavirus controls. “We’re very proud of our food production campus at Dulham Quarry – it’s a stylish, high-quality environment with exceptional attention-to-detail – so the PV system had to be deigned to perfectly complement this. I’m thrilled with SunGift’s work at Dulham Quarry as they designed a bespoke system to fit our brief, had a wonderful approach and finished the job to a meticulous standard.”