Last year, Celtic Renewables converted its HQ so that it now runs almost completely on renewable energy. Read on to find out how.
For several years we used a once-derelict barn as a store for our renewable energy business, whose founding principles were firmly grounded on the belief that by installing energy solutions that did not contribute to global warming or deplete the earth’s finite resources we could make a real difference.
Needing room to expand, it occurred to us: why not relocate the business to the store ? One minor challenge (opportunity ?) – there was no mains gas, water or electricity on site. Three months later and we had converted it into a combined office premises and warehouse complete with meeting room and kitchen – but how to provide heat and power our new facility ?
The supply of electricity was clearly a priority for a fully functioning modern business. 5kWp of solar photovoltaic panels now supply electricity to a battery bank which in turn supplies electricity for the day-to-day running of the business.
We chose a wood pellet boiler as a means of heating. Clean, green, efficient, and able to run conventional radiators - just like a fossil fuel boiler,
A solar thermal panel provides hot water for the site. Solar thermal is a technology particularly close to our heart, as the installation of a solar thermal system at our directors' barn conversion provided the inspiration for the founding of the company over 11 years ago. Hot water is provided by a single Genersys 1000-10 panel with a wood pellet boiler providing top-up heat as required.
An on-site generator is needed to provide occasional top up to the batteries at times of prolonged electricity usage in the winter months when the available solar energy is at its lowest – and we hope soon to install a wind turbine to minimise its use.
True to our environmental philosophy, we aim to encourage the proliferation of wildlife in the locality and have installed nesting boxes for owls and swallows at the new premises. We also firmly believe in buying locally, and the materials and services required to convert and renovate the new premises have been sourced from local suppliers wherever possible.
The task we set ourselves was to be practically free from fossil fuels and to generate our energy sustainably on site. There is no ready-made template for doing this but fortunately, with the knowledge we have built up in the company, we were able to overcome the significant technical challenges the project presented.
Our motivation was not financial – we received no grants, for example, – but the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-in Tariff schemes mean that like any other business we can look forward to an index-linked income stream for our efforts, and are insulated from spiralling energy costs.
We are all proud of our team here at Celtic – if you’re ever down in Cornwall, please feel free to visit us at our new premises to see renewables in action!