Business park powers itself with solar array
Ransom Wood Business Park has become the UK's first completely self-sufficient business park for its electricity needs as a 450KW on-site solar farm was switched on this week.
The new solar system in Mansfield has 2,000 PV panels installed which will be sufficient to meet the 50-400 KW electricity needs of 75,000 sq.ft of occupied office space along with a restaurant and a nursery.
The business park's owner, Ransom Wood Estates, invested £660,000 in the solar farm to take the group a step closer to its ultimate aim of becoming a "world-class centre renown for synchronous business and environmental management".
"We believe that we are leading the way in environmental management and business support," said Ransom Wood Estates' director James Cannon. "We re-used the old buildings we inherited on the site and have incorporated sound environmental policies wherever appropriate to benefit out tenants. They will be able to power their businesses in the knowledge that no fossil fuels are being used to keep them running."
"It's very easy to erect a new office that is full of environmentally sound systems etc., the real challenge comes in making use of existing buildings that are full of challenges donated to you over 100 years ago."
Fellow Director and brother to James, Charles Cannon, added: "Re-use is the first rule of recycling and we wanted very much to stick to our principles rather than level the site and use up even more resources to build new spaces.
"With the solar farm on-line, we will be able to run the business park in a self-sustaining way when it comes to energy use, reducing carbon emissions by thousands of tonnes each year."
The business park was built in 1997 on the site of a former hospital, utilising the original buildings. Ransom Wood Estates set about creating a business park that worked in harmony with the environment and supported the health and well-being its business tenants.
Solar installations such as the one at Ransom Wood Business Park will from July this year be hit with a 28% reduction to the financial support currently available to them.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) have this week announced cuts to the Feed-in tariff scheme, which will particularly hit standalone systems as the government attempts to encourage a shift towards rooftop mounted solar.
Despite this fresh set of cuts to solar support, the Renewable Energy Association's senior advisor for solar Ray Noble told delegates at Sustainability Live this week that the UK's solar industry's future is secure, with the continuation of falling prices not dependent on subsidies.