Howbery Business Park solar system

Most interesting.

They leave out the important numbers.

How much did the system cost? What is the cost of the electricity produced?

In short, they\’ve left out the very numbers we need to understand whether it\’s worth it.

and thereby save 350 tonnes of CO2 a year.

OK, at the top end of Stern\’s range, this is an externality of £25,000 a year. So, does the system cost more than £25,000 a year than alternative sources of electricity?

Does it, in fact, make us poorer or richer?

11 thoughts on “Howbery Business Park solar system”

  1. I have recently been given some figures for the cost of installing solar panels on one of my barns on the farm. For a 50Kw array the cost would be £138K, and that would generate a FIT income of £16K.

    This array is a massive field one, and would be many times larger. To give you some idea I was given figures by solar array developers before the change in govt policy on large arrays. For large scale arrays (up to 30 acres) they were offering to pay the landowner up to £2000/acre in rent alone. If they can pay that much in rent you can imagine how much subsidy they are raking in. There are three such arrays within a few miles of my farm that hope to get in under the wire on the old tariff – they need to be completed by 1st of August to qualify.

    The whole thing is a disgraceful ramp. Poor people in tower blocks are paying extra for their fuel so large landowners can make thousands, and all for no use whatsoever. Its immoral. In fact I’d go further and say its evil.

  2. Another scandal in the making.

    Infinis owns numerous wind farms in Scotland and has plans for many more.

    Wind farms are highly profitable because of subsidies which derive from inflating ordinary consumer’s electricity bills.

    Infinis is part of Terra Firma. Terra Firma is run by Guy Hands the well known Guernsey resident and UK tax exile.

  3. Ian B, its only expensive if you go to Magrathea for your custom build worlds. Ikea do a self assemly one thats way cheaper.

  4. Resistance is futile.

    I had a (private) e-mail exchange a few weeks ago with a jousrnalist in a major UK daily who had reported breathlessly on the latest “breakthrough” in small-scale wind energy.

    With simple math, I showed that the predictions for output, operating cost and ROI that she had copied verbatim from the press release were simply at odds with reality. By a lot.

    Her response – verbatim – “I don’t think it’s as bad as you say.”

    That was it. Math doesn’t count in these discussions. It’s a matter of faith – of religious belief. You will never see the true figures for this installation – they will be hidden in a quicksand of changing reporting methods, altered values for the investment and a dozen other finagles that will all have the effect of making it impossible to figure out whether it was actually a good thing to do or not.

    As another commenter has already said, the end result of many of these schemes borders on being evil. They force poor people with few resources and few alternatives to pay for the religious observances of the well-to-do, who can always exempt themselves from the more-unpleasant consequences.



  5. 680 MWh a year? So 2.5 terajoules a year? That’s 75 kW. A hundred horsepower. The power output of a mid-range family saloon. A fossil-fuelled genset with this sort of output can be towed behind a small van and costs maybe $15000.

    As llamas says, even a nodding familiarity with basic arithmetic would go a long way towards allowing a sensible discussion on these matters.

  6. Looking at a few articles, it seems that the environment agency are on the same business park. If this was done by them, then it’s an FOI request away.

  7. Well, let’s do some of that math.

    As said, on the average, that’s a yield of 75 kW continuously – but there’s no such a thing in photovolatics. To make this annual output, the installed capacity would need to be at least 10x that output, and likely more. Between darkness, and overcast, and degradation – well, let’s be as optimistic as possible and say 10x. So the installed capacity is likely 750 Kw.

    Well, large-scale photovoltaics run about £3 a watt, installed – so this is a £2.25 million installation.

    All that for a maximum possible yield of 680 MWh per annum, having a maximum real-world value of about £68,000? If you even believe that yield number (I don’t – a quick calculation of insolation and efficiency shows that much.) It’ll take 30 years just to pay back the installation costs.

    If I did this, it would be fraud.



  8. Andrew Montgomery

    Of course, there’s the minor detail that the Howbery Business Park itself is hardly the greenest of places to locate a business. It’s a typical car-centric design, served by very few buses and over 4 miles to the nearest train station. Slapping on a few solar panels when everyone’s 4×4 is in the car park is just greenwashing. (And why is it that you can so easily get planning permission to build a monstrous business park in the countryside, but you’d never get permission to build a house a fraction of that size in the same area? Is the government deliberately trying to make our workplaces nicer than our homes, so that we won’t ever want to leave work?)

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