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Farming family highlight benefits of solar power

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Wyn and Eurig: Checking on the morning’s energy production

Wyn and Eurig: Checking on the morning’s energy production

A BEEF and sheep farming family from Blaenffos have highlighted the benefits of solar power to their business but stressed the importance of improvement to infrastructure to further develop the sector.

Wyn and Glenda Jones, of Pantyderi and Trefach farms, together with their son Eurig, rear beef and sheep plus arable acreage for home consumption on both holdings which run to 1,000 acres in total.

Across the two businesses the family farm 70 suckler cows, 400 store cattle, and 2,000 breeding ewes. Since 1985, the family also offer selfcatering cottages all year round.

In 2012 the Jones family decided to diversify into renewable energy and installed 104kw of solar panels.

There are now two installations of 50kw at Pantyderi and a 4kw installation at Trefach for domestic use.

Renewable energy schemes produce more than 20% of the UK’s electricity, and EU targets mean that this is likely to increase to 30% by 2020.

The first 50kw solar installation was put up in 2012 at Pantyderi and was followed by an additional 50kw the following year.

The opportunity to diversify into renewable energy came as threephase electricity was already on the farm with access to the main line.

And when Western Power decided to upgrade the existing transformer on the farm in 2012, which had been there since 1945, it was too good a chance to miss.

Wyn paid an extra £3000 towards putting a bigger transformer up, which then paved the way for the second installation in 2013. The payback time for the initial investment is 6 to 7 years and the installation is index linked for 20 years.

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT), from which the business benefits, is designed to support small scale renewable installations up to 5MW.

Through FiTs, generators like the Jones family, are paid a tariff for every unit of electricity they produce. Any electricity not used on site can then be sold back into the Grid.

Grid lacks capacity for renewables “We make a saving of about £5000 a year between the two units, with each of them generating approximately £7000 worth of electricity a year.

“The surplus energy we don’t use on the farm is exported back to the national grid. We receive about 14.5p for generating each unit and receive 4.5p per unit for the surplus we feed back into the grid,” explains Wyn.

“This means that we are totally self-sufficient in our electric use on the farm and all of this is produced by the sun. Even though we don’t get as much sunshine here as some other countries, it was well worth the investment,” he added.

However, when wanting to expand the current installation of solar cells, as there was plenty of room on the farm buildings, the family hit a brick wall.

Following some enquiries they were told that there was no more capacity in the grid as the infrastructure was not there to support any extra energy produced.

“We were really keen to expand our solar cell installation but because the infrastructure could not cope with any more energy being fed into the grid it was impossible. The country has a commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and its reliance on fossil fuels, so it was very disappointing for us.

“Renewable energy production is also another way for us farmers to increase our income stream and diversify our businesses.

“We can’t just rely on the price we get paid for our produce anymore, so anything we can do to support ourselves needs to be supported by government and as far as renewables are concerned also the energy companies,” added Wyn.

He added that many more farm businesses would be able to make an investment into renewable energy as a viable form of extra income that was index linked, if only the right support was out there for them.

The Union fully supports the development of appropriate onfarm renewable energy sources, and believes Wales has only scratched the surface in terms of the contribution Welsh farms can make to green energy production.

Government should do more “Despite Wales’ being perfectly suited for some forms of renewable energy generation,the percentage of electricity generated in Wales from renewable stands at just 10% – 5% lower than the UK average, and the lowest of all the UK devolved regions,” said FUW Land Use Policy Officer Bernard Griffiths.

“The decision in 2015 by the UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change, which has responsibility for major national energy projects, to suddenly and drastically reduce support for renewables not only compromises our ability to help mitigate climate change, but has also led directly to farmers and others losing significant sums already invested in unfinished projects,” added Mr Griffiths.

In light of this the FUW called on Welsh Government to carefully consider the outcome of the Welsh Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee’s Smarter Energy Future for Wales inquiry and to seek alternative and innovative ways in which funding can be provided in order to develop on-farm energy production.

In addition, there has to be a stronger commitment from energy companies to invest in improving infrastructure to allow those farms not currently connected to also access the renewable energy market.

The Union further asks of the Welsh Government to identify those barriers to on-farm energy production which fall within its remit and seek to reduce bureaucratic burdens which prevent or add to the financial and time burdens which prevent developments.

Mr Griffiths added that it is vital for the Welsh Government to work with Ofgem and the UK Government to ensure the costs of connection to the National Grid by electricity companies are fair and proportionate and that it encourages and facilitates the use of wood and other carbon-neutral sources of energy while ensuring food production is not compromised.

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Free parking in Ceredigion for the three Saturdays before Christmas

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PARKNG will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays preceding Christmas this year.

The development follows a decision made the by the Council’s Cabinet on 16 October 2018. Parking charges at Council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on 8, 15 and 22 December 2018.

The Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services, Councillor Dafydd Edwards said, “Christmas is a very important time of year for many small businesses in our towns. This decision will support people to prepare for the festivities locally and help small businesses compete with the increasing influence of online shopping.”

The decision contributes towards one of the Council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.

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Development of the Welsh Language at Ysgol Bro Pedr a step forward

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A CONSULTATION is to take place on the development of the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter.

On 15 March 2018, members of Ysgol Bro Pedr’s Governing Body unanimously agreed to support a consultation on the development of the medium of instruction in the Foundation Phase. In its meeting on 16 October 2018, Cabinet supported and approved the Governing Body’s decision to commence a consultation to develop the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, said, “The Governing body’s decision to seek approval to proceed to consultation supports the wider context noted in Ceredigion’s WESP, to see more seven year old children being educated through the medium of Welsh. The decision also supports the Council’s aim to teach Ceredigion pupils so that they are fully bilingual when they leave primary school and to develop this ability during their time in secondary education.”

Currently, pupils transferring from the reception class to Year 1 are taught in separate classrooms. One classroom is taught mainly through the medium of English and the other through the medium of Welsh. Implementing the decision of the Governing Body would mean that only Welsh-medium education would be provided to the end of the Foundation Phase. English and Welsh medium classes would continue in Key Stage 2.

The formal consultation will begin on 06 November 2018 with an opportunity to present views and comments on the proposal or express support for status quo. In addition, drop in sessions will also be undertaken at the school to allow parents to discuss the proposals in detail with members of the Governing Body and County Council officers.

The Cabinet decision contributes towards realising the Council’s corporate priorities within the Corporate Strategy of investing in people’s future.

If the proposal is approved following the consultation, it would be implemented from 01 September 2019. However, pupils currently receiving their education in the Foundation Phase through the medium of English would continue to do so until they enter Key Stage 2.

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Margaret Jones: 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator

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CEREDIGION MUSEUM celebrates the 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator Margaret Jones with an exclusive exhibition.

The exhibition Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100, highlighting the career of award winning illustrator Margaret Jones on the eve of her 100th birthday, includes early sketches and unseen drawings owned by the Jones family themselves. The exclusive exhibition opens the door to this famous painter’s art, inviting visitors to discover the ideas, sketches and inner workings of her iconic paintings and illustrations.

The exhibition will feature previously unseen original prints from the ‘Arthur’ series and rare prints from unpublished work including ‘Seven days of the week’, which looks at how the names of the days of the week derive from the sagas of the Nordic Kings and Queens. Archive photo albums and unpublished books will be shown alongside the drawings and prints giving an intimate view of the artist and her life.

Ceredigion Museum’s assistant curator Alice Briggs said, “It has been wonderful to have the chance to delve through the portfolios of Margaret Jones, to discover more about her process of creating her illustrations and to learn more of her own detailed knowledge of the storytelling traditions in which she has illustrated.”

Becoming a professional painter at the age of 60, Margaret became known as one of the leading illustrators in the Celtic tradition and other folklore. Born in England, Margaret brought up her own young family in India with her husband, before being appointed as lecturer in Education Studies at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Here, her portrayal of the Mabinogi has defined the way a generation of children in Wales imagine the folklore of the nation’s past.

Professor Sioned Davies, the former Head of Welsh at Cardiff University, whose ongoing contribution to Welsh language and culture is highly influential, will open the exhibition on Saturday 27 October at 2pm. All museum visitors are very welcome to attend the official opening.

The Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100 free exhibition will run at Ceredigion Museum gallery from Saturday, 27 October 2018 until 5 January 2019.

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