Butford Organics has recently installed a 3.9kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system on its barn through a partnership with local installer Southern Solar.

Based in Herefordshire, the family-owned business is one of the first organic cider and perry farms in the UK to switch to solar generated electricity.

Mounted on the roof of its cider and perry processing barn, the system comprises 16 Sharp PV panels and will generate more than enough electricity for the farm in the summer months. Excess power will be sold back to the grid, allowing founders Martin and Janet Harris to benefit from feed-in tariff subsidies.

Despite only having the PV system for a month, Martin has already seen its capability, “We have a good southerly aspect and have reached 3.8kW of electricity generation on the sunny days but we were very encouraged to see that it still generates good amounts of electricity on cloudy days too.”

With cider and perry processing in full swing this month, the Harris’ expect to use most of the electricity they generate through the panels on site.

Costing around £14,000, the Butford solar system is estimated to be fully paid off within eight years, or less if energy prices continue to increase.

Under current feed-in tariff rates, the system provides a 12% return on investment over the FiT’s 25 year life span.