One year after installing solar panels, organic drinks maker has generated 3% more renewable energy than predicted

Award-winning organic drinks-maker Luscombe Drinks has a philosophy of ‘keeping everything as local as possible’, so when it was looking at improving its energy usage the company’s directors were confident that this would be sourced locally too.

And just one year after installing the system, solar PV generation figures show that it has generated over 3% more renewable energy than predicted.

Luscombe Drinks’ PV system was installed by Devon-based SunGift Energy, who carried out a thorough site survey and detailed proposal before installing 111 solar panels on the roof of Luscombe Drinks.  The 30kW system has provided enough electricity (30,353 kWh) to power the equivalent of nine houses, reducing Luscombe Drinks’ carbon emissions by nearly 16,000kg per year.

“It’s extremely important to us to closely manage every aspect of our drinks’ production,” said Luscombe managing director Gabriel David, “so generating a huge proportion of our energy onsite is another feather in our cap.  Not only does it mean that we no longer have to rely as heavily on the big energy companies to power our production line, but also we’ve dramatically lowered our carbon footprint and reduced our overheads.”

As the business’s operations run throughout the day – almost every day of the year – it uses at least 80 per cent of the electricity that the solar PV panels generate, while the additional 20% is fed back to the national grid. As well as the savings on its electricity bill, Luscombe Drinks receives 12.57 pence from the government for every unit of electricity that it generates, plus almost 5 pence more for the units that are fed back into the grid.

“When we were looking at solar PV we really didn’t know where to start,” added David, “but SunGift showed that they were experts in the field and would finish off every aspect of the job in fine detail.  The sun is now helping our apples not only to grow but also to be processed. What’s more, our green credentials have been boosted tremendously.”

21.8% return on investment

In addition to boosting Luscombe Drinks’ green credentials, the business case for going solar was indisputable, with substantial financial benefits and an exceptional 21% return on investment per annum.  This means that the company’s solar system will have paid for itself in just over four and a half years, leaving more than 15 further years of additional Feed-in Tariff payments.

“Luscombe Drinks’ solar PV system was an exceptional investment when we provided them with their initial design and quote,” said Gareth Walton, business development manager at SunGift,  “and the first year figures prove that it will give an even better return on investment than anticipated. This is not only great news for Luscombe Drinks, but also further evidence that a bespoke SunGift designed PV system, combined with our industry-leading equipment and highly-skilled installers, provides the very best result.”


“From a financial perspective solar PV makes absolute sense to Luscombe Drinks,” added Gabriel David.  “The additional income we receive from the Feed-in Tariff will enable us to invest in further sustainable energy measures that will further reduce our environmental impact and make our business even more competitive.”

Quick Stats
System size:                                                    29.97 kW
Annual energy generation (first year):     30,353 kWh
Payback period:                                            4.59 years
Return on Investment:                                21.8%
Carbon savings (first year):                        15.88 tonnes