You can blow your own way: How wind power transformed this farm
17th January 2020
Ashby Farms, in the idyllic countryside of Daventry, Northamptonshire, is home to a family that’s been farming in the area for generations, focussed initially on livestock before moving towards arable farming.
As the business developed, the Ashby family began to look at alternative revenue streams – and found an unlikely solution.
“Primarily we farm; it’s been a family farm, we’ve been here for generations. Farming is the basis of the business, but we’ve since diversified into renewable energy,” explains Roger Ashby.
With a wind turbine and solar panels on the land, the Ashby family are reducing their energy spend and their environmental impact.
Why invest in renewable energy?
The farm wanted to find an alternative revenue stream to complement their business. Roger Ashby, the owner of the business and the land, began to look into renewable energy options.
The family installed the PV solar array in 2011, and the wind turbine followed in 2014.
“[We] chose a wind turbine because initial investigation found out there was sufficient windspeed in the area to support a wind turbine, and so we pushed ahead.”
The initial appeal in both instances was twofold; investing in renewable energy infrastructure represents “a very good business model”. Aside from the set-up costs, maintenance is low and there is a guaranteed return.
Secondly, there’s the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT). The FiT, introduced in 2010, is a government scheme which pays people and businesses to generate their own electricity. The FSB estimates that one in ten small business currently participate in the scheme.
The FiT will no longer be open to new applicants, effective from 1st April 2019, but you can still enter a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an energy supplier. This is exactly what Roger Ashby did, reaching out to Opus Energy.
With a PPA in place, Mr Ashby is paid by Opus Energy for every unit of electricity generated on site, and he also benefits from the FiT for the remainder of his contract.
“It’s a very good business model. Obviously, it was driven by the incentive, the Feed-in-Tariff, but it’s a great plus for the whole business.
“We signed up with Opus Energy and we’ve been very pleased with the service they’ve provided. It’s a great business because you just rely on the wind, and usually the wind will blow. And then Opus Energy will do the rest.”
Opus Energy already works with hundreds of renewable generators across the country, offering competitive rates and flexible terms for their generated power.
If you’re interested in finding out more about generating and selling renewable power, you can call us on 0845 040 5802, or email email@example.com.
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