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It's best known as the home of the Glastonbury Festival but Worthy Farm could soon have the UK’s largest private solar electricity system.
1,100 solar panels are being put on barn roofs and will produce the same amount of power that's used by 40 homes.
1,500 square metres of solar panels will transform the roof of the world famous “Mootel” – the barns the farm’s dairy herd use when their pasture is taken around 200,000 festival goers for a week in June. Once they are installed the panels will generate power all year round. Micheal Eavis will become the UK's biggest private produce of solar energy aswell as a herdsman and festival organiser.
Glastonbury is known as one of the greenest music festivals. It runs stages on renewable electricity. There's onsite recycling and an army of volunteers who sort through abandoned tents and other waste to see what can be re-used. There are “green police stopping festival-goers dropping litter or using farm hedges as toilets.
Renewable energy has been used on the Festival since 1979 and it's hoped this new project which will make a huge difference to the carbon footprint.
When operating at peak capacity – on a clear, sunny day – the panels will generate 200 kW of power. Only the Co-Operative Group’s CIS tower in Manchester is larger, with a peak output of 380 kW. Most of the electricity from the solar panels will be used onsite, to run equipment such as milking pumps. The remainder will be exported to the National Grid.
Mr Eavis decided to press ahead with the installation this week after the Government unveiled new payments for green electricity.
The new “Clean Energy Cashback” scheme means the Worthy Farm system will get 29 pence per unit of power it makes, and generate a total of about £60,000 worth of electricity a year.
Mr Eavis expects the system will pay for itself in eight or nine years, after which the money it makes will be extra income for the farm.
By creating clean electricity with almost no harmful emissions, the system will save about 100 tonnes of CO2 a year – the total annual carbon footprint of 10 people in the UK.
North Somerset renewable energy installer Solar Sense has won the task of installing what will surely be one of the highest profile solar installations in the land. A team of 10 workers will start to install the panels on August 1, providing planning permission is granted and site surveys confirm the roofing on the barns is strong enough to hold the panels.