The Solar System

It’s been quite a long journey, but our solar installation is now really working well. Definitely one of our better decisions. There are 27 panels on two different roof faces, and a couple of batteries. What that means is that - on nice sunny days like the ones we’ve had in the last couple of weeks - - we can pretty much power ourselves. And remember that we have refrigeration which needs to work 24 hours a day. That’s where the batteries come in, storing surplus power which can be drawn on overnight.

With everything doing what it should - and a decent amount of sunshine - you can just imagine how useful this is given what has happened to the cost of electricity, and the difficulties this causes - especially for businesses that use a lot. So we’re very pleased to have done it.

Downsides? Well, it all cost quite a bit. About half of that was money that we - like all businesses eligible for business rates - were given during the pandemic. We didn’t need it to keep ourselves going at that time, so decided to set it aside to do this. The rest was taken from our our profits (and in fact pretty much any surplus we make is reinvested).

The only other problem was that getting the system working properly was a trial - it took about six months - due to a fault which the installers struggled to track down (eventually it was found to be a dodgy inverter). The interaction between different bits of the system, made by different manufacturers, didn’t help. I wonder if to some extent it’s still ‘early days’ for this technology? Whatever, it wasn’t plain sailing.

But now it’s working. Hooray! 

Photos: Above, The Cheese Shed from the air. You can see the black rectangles which are the two solar arrays - one on the shop roof (pointing south-east) and one on the barn at the rear of the property (which faces south-west).

Below: two batteries (left), another view of the main building with its solar panels (centre), and two inverters for the two solar arrays (right).