“From the early discussions with Anesco it became clear why they are so well respected in the renewables arena. They are incredibly easy to work with and at every stage of the process, from design and build through to the ongoing optimisation and maintenance of the sites, they have continued to display an outstanding passion, knowledge and commitment to delivering the very best outcome.”
Drayton Manor Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon is an agricultural holding and former DEFRA site that covers 194 hectares, with land suitable for arable farming, short crop rotation and pasture. In 2014, the farm was acquired by the Wood family, who approached Anesco about the potential for solar to be developed on the site.
Solar farm construction and connectivity
Following a feasibility study, the team at Anesco established that the land would be suitable for solar and recommended that to maximise the benefits, the site be divided up into nine separate plots, each measuring approximately 26 acres.
Anesco went on to design, construct and secure grid connectivity for nine 5MW ground mount solar farms, each connected to a purpose-built 66kV sub-station.
Completed in just 30 weeks
With a combined compacity of 45MW, the solar farms at Drayton Manor Farm generate a level of clean energy that is the equivalent to that needed to power 14,500 homes.
Despite the complexity in dealing with a large number of grid connections, coupled with the commissioning of the newly built 66kV sub-station, the project at Drayton Manor Farm was completed in just 30 weeks.
With the Wood family retaining ownership of two of the nine solar farms, the remaining seven are owned by investors, including a community energy company, who have entered into land lease agreements.
Co-locating battery storage
National Grid has identified that the UK needs more energy storage to due to an increase in demand from areas such as EV charging, battery storage is therefore required to balance out the natural intermittency of renewable energy generation.
In 2016, Anesco was then appointed to co-locate battery storage units totalling 7.1 MWh alongside six of the solar farms, including the two installations owned by the Wood family.
The project has been a huge success and the utility scale batteries are providing each stakeholder with an attractive additional revenue stream, in addition to the revenue that is being generated by the solar farms.
Rooftop solar on renovated barns
Alongside the ground mount solar and battery storage developments, Anesco also worked with Drayton Manor Farm on renewable upgrades for a number of farm buildings.
Several large agricultural buildings have been converted and are now let out for commercial use. After assessing the suitability of the rooftops, five former barns were fitted with rooftop solar arrays, which have a combined capacity of 418.2KW.
The renewable energy being generated is available for use by the farm, helping to reduce energy expenditure and carbon emissions.
In total, Drayton Manor Farm is now generating 52.5MW of clean energy on site.
Operations and maintenance
The ongoing management of the entire development is being looked after by Anesco’s experienced Operations & Maintenance team.
Along with proactively maintaining and optimising the performance of the nine solar farms and five rooftop solar installations, the team also provides grounds maintenance and year-round 24/7 site security.
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