The sun shone upon the festival goers at Glastonbury last week with usual scenes of rain and mud put on hold as thousands flocked to that corner of Somerset. With sunburn and dehydration an obvious risk for the crowds, the UV rays would have proved a welcome sight for Michael Eavis who plans to build the biggest solar farm in the UK. Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury festival hopes to take advantage of the recently introduced feed-in tariff to earn money for the energy he generates on the site.
The plan will consist of 1500sqm of panels at a cost of £550,000 on Pilton Farm and will be situated on the cow shed dubbed ‘Mootel’. With an obvious substantial outlay involved in the construction of the 1100 panels, Eavis will utilize the feed-in tariff to generate an income based on the units of energy his solar farm produces.
The feed-in tariff works by offering a guaranteed, premium rate for the units of renewable energy produced by the solar panels be they fed-back into the national grid or simply consumed by the owner of the farm. Eavis’ system for example expects to generate around 200 kilowatts of electricity a year generating £45,000 in income from the tariff, enough to pay for the installation in six years. With a 25 year lifetime of the project, Eavis can hope to generate a healthy profit once the high cost of the installation is recovered.
Although Michael Eavis is investing £50,000 of his own money into the solar farm, the rest is being invested by Triodos Bank who specialize in green investments. Eavis, explaining why he chose to invest his money in solar power stated,
“I’ve been planning this for a long time but the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has brought home just how urgent it is that we move to renewable electricity. We have already bought all the recycled fat from chip shops that we can find to run the generators during the festival and we wanted to create a permanent source of renewable energy. It makes sense to use some of the massive amount of free energy that comes from the sun.”