The solar panels on the roof of the farm buildings are already producing enough power to supply some of the electricity for the house, the cottage and the estate’s offices. Before the panels were installed the estate used 330 units a day. This winter that figure has been reduced to 200 units and during the summer it was just 95 units.
The biomass boiler, which was commissioned just before Christmas, will save 34,000 litres of oil a year.
James Humphreys, of Rural Property Advisers, Smiths Gore, who manages the Trewithen Estate said: “The benefits of this project have been two-fold, it’s extremely cost effective to introduce these new energy sources – they will have paid for themselves within five years – and it’s the most environmentally responsible way forward. We’re making considerable savings for Trewithen and the environment.”
Work began on fitting the new equipment last summer with the installation of photovoltaic (PV) modules on two farm buildings – the grain store and the machinery store. One roof has an array of 55 panels producing 14kW and the second an array of 113 panels producing 28 kW.
The biomass boiler replaced the oil fired central heating system. It has been fitted by wood fuel heating specialists, Clean Earth, from Wadebridge. Forest Fuels, a national company with its head office in Okehampton, will be providing the softwood chips necessary to fuel the boiler. They are produced by the company at its plant in Mitchell using virgin timber grown locally under sustainable management.
James said: “The boiler needed a dedicated building to house it, which has been constructed in the car park. It’s timber framed and timber clad to fit in with the aesthetics of the garden and comply with English Heritage requirements. There was also a lot of underground pipework to lay but, by the time the gardens open again in March, no-one will be able to see the work has been done.”