Cornwall-based solar installer, Celtic Renewable Energy, has moved into all new premises which are entirely off-grid – no mains electricity, water or gas.    

In an attempt to practice what it preaches, the new warehouse and offices are served entirely by on-site renewable technologies. Hot water is provided to the site thanks to a single Genersys 1000-10 solar thermal panel with heating provided by a biomass boiler.

Electricity is provided by a solar PV array situated on the roof of the premises. The intermittent nature of solar means that the site has to use a bank of batteries to store any electricity generated by the panels. During times of peak electricity demand in the winter, an on-site generator is occasionally needed to top up the batteries. The coordination of the PV system and the generator is handled automatically by a Sunny Island combined inverter and charge controller.

True to its environmental philosophy, the company aims to encourage the proliferation of wildlife in the locality and has installed nesting boxes for owls and swallows at the new premises.  The company also firmly believes in buying locally, and the materials and services required to convert and renovate the new premises have been sourced from local suppliers wherever possible.

Commenting on the project, Director John Turner said: “The opening of our new facility is the culmination of years of hard work and the fulfillment of a long held ambition.  The formidable task we set ourselves was to be practically free from fossil fuels and to generate our energy sustainably on site. 

“There is no ready-made template for doing this, but fortunately with the knowledge we have built up in the company we were able to overcome the significant technical challenges the project presented.  Our motivation was not financial – we received no grants for example – but the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-in Tariff schemes mean that like any other business we can look forward to an index-linked income stream for our efforts, and are insulated from spiraling energy costs.

I am proud of the team here at Celtic – we remain a family firm and always bring the same passion, expertise and integrity we have shown in developing our new premises to solving our customers’ energy challenges every day.”