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Alternative Energy on Allotments

Most allotment sites don’t have mains power connected but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some electricity on site.

Solar Power

Solar electricity generation, photovoltaic, doesn’t make a lot of sense in the UK. Even with the drop in production costs for the systems, we just don’t get enough sun to make the investment sensible for serious generation. Having said that, solar panels can make a lot of sense for small scale generation used on an allotment site.

If you have a shed and just want to provide enough power for an occasional light then kits can be bought very cheaply.

Larger solar power systems connected to battery storage can be the right answer for an allotment shop if mains power isn’t available. I’d argue the carbon footprint isn’t a light as you might think – after all it takes energy to manufacture those solar panels – but it still makes economic sense.

Wind Power

Now I’ve said before that very small scale wind generators are a silly idea, they just don’t generate enough electricity to ever pay for themselves or to ever cover the carbon cost of manufacture.

Having said that, slightly larger scale installations, not massive but the 2KW and higher wind generators on a mast can make sense. Not only do they generate power for internal use on the site but can supply power back to the grid. These new wind energy feed tariffs have changed the whole economic outlook.

Because of this it can actually make economic sense to put a wind turbine onto an allotment site and connect it up to the grid. This, of course, saves on the need for batteries which are the often ignored, expensive part of the installation.

In fact, a large site using mains power for a shop or clubhouse could be sensible to look at putting a larger turbine on the site to provide an income for the site. Of course there’s a lot to consider.

  • Do you have a suitable space?
  • What will the neighbours think and can you get planning permission?
  • How much will it cost to install and what are the likely returns?

You would certainly need to spend some time on a feasibility study and probably hire a consultant but don’t forget there are grants available from a number of sources that can cover nearly all of the cost in some cases.

Just something to think about.

Posted in Rants and Raves, Tools & Stuff

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