Sun shines on Cornish holiday cottages

By installing a large field-based solar array, Cornish holiday company The Olde House in Chapel Amble will significantly reduce its annual energy bills. By connecting to the National Grid, the 242kW field-based array, which is one of the first in the area, pipped Government’s feed-in tariff cuts to the post.

Over 1,000 solar panels will now work to provide power for all of the 30 self-catering cottages at The Olde House, which is just 10 minutes from the North Cornwall beaches of Polzeath and Rock.

Owners Andrew and Janice Hawkey, who have offered self-catering cottage holidays on their 500 acre mixed-use farm since 1976, said the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme has offered them a way to escape crippling energy increases.

“A big attraction of a farmstay holiday is spending time in the heart of the countryside, and we are always looking at ways to make The Olde House more environmentally friendly. This is critically important to us, and it’s also something that our customers are influenced by – now they can swim in our heated indoor pool and feel good about their holiday,” said Mr. Hawkey.

“Unlike lots of solar schemes our investment has been designed to supply our own energy needs. Our annual electricity bill has been close to £40,000, and as well as saving us money every year we will also be reducing our CO2 emissions by 136 tons every year.”

Dan Rogerson, MP for North Cornwall, who was present at the switch on of the array on Thursday July 14 said, “Cornwall has a brilliant tradition of looking at sustainable tourism, people know that if they are feeling guilty about travelling or their carbon footprint, they can come down and have a holiday in Cornwall and know that they are minimizing their emissions as much as they can, which is great.”

Chair of the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) board, Stephen Frankel said, “We are thrilled that the Hawkey family and The Olde House are part of WREN, and very grateful for their generosity in contributing some of the income from this facility to the WREN community fund.”

“The point of WREN is to strengthen the local economy by bringing renewable energy into the mainstream. Tourism is a major source of local income, so we are keen that people nationally and internationally should know that here we are moving rapidly into the low carbon economy.”

Any excess energy generated by the array will be fed back into the National Grid.