The first and largest solar farm in Scotland, built by family ice cream company Mackie’s, has hit one year of electricity generation.
The 1.8MW development on the family’s farm in Aberdeenshire complements four wind turbines totalling 3MW, providing peak power in summer when wind levels are lower. The plant’s 7,000 panels, built by Absolute Solar and Wind, are on track to generate nearly 1.5 million kWh in 2016 – 5% higher than projected.
Managing director Mac Mackie said: “My father was a pioneer in wind energy, trialling wind power with an early 50kW model in 1982 and later rejoicing in the output from our four wind turbines, which total 3MW and were installed in stages from 2005.
“The solar farm was completed in 2015, and this development carries on his dream of converting Mackie's and Scotland towards self-sufficiency in renewable energy.
“Thanks to that foresight we now export a surplus of renewable electricity to the grid, a huge step towards our vision to become the greenest company in Britain.”
Lindsey Roberts, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Mackie's commitment to renewable energy is already clear for all to see – the company's ice cream tubs feature the wind turbines which have been generating power at its farm since 2005.
“The addition of a solar farm 12 months ago shows that although Scotland isn’t famous for its sunshine, all forms of renewable energy have their part to play in our energy mix.
“The Mackie's project also demonstrates how well wind and solar power work together, with power now being produced on both sunny, still days and cloudy, overcast ones.”