Hever Castle & Gardens has installed solar panels to save money on its electricity bill and help the environment.
The Kentish attraction, which is rated silver for green tourism, has had the solar panels installed on the roof of the biomass store across the road from the private entrance to the Astor Wing 5* bed and breakfast.
The biomass store houses the woodchip boiler which heats the entire site with the vast majority of the timber used to power this sourced from local woodland.
About the biomass:
We replaced our 650KW woodchip boiler with a 995KW boiler in November 2013. This new, larger boiler has allowed us to add several more houses, the toilet blocks and the forthcoming Kent and Sharpshooters Military Museum and Think Tank classroom.
The local residents on the system currently pay the Castle for the heat they use at a price slightly below the typical oil price. For householders this is very efficient as they are only paying for the heat and not for the running of a boiler. The vast majority of the timber we use comes from local woodlands in Kent, Sussex and Surrey and at the moment only a small percentage is taken from our own woods
In terms of the solar panels, most importantly Hever Castle will get paid 4.01p for every until of electricity generated and an additional 5.18p for any sold back to the grid.
It is estimated the solar panels will generate around 43,200 kilowatts of electricity per year, therefore saving the estate £5,000-£6,000 annually.
Since 2008 the electricity unit price we pay has increased by 47.61%. The amount actually spent on electricity has increased by 31.7%. Since 2013 the unit price has increased by 7.36% and the amount spent by 6.5%.
Noble Green Energy installed the solar panels in January as part of a three day job.
In conclusion, because Hever Castle is saving money on electricity it will mean more investment on conservation and preservation of the 125 acre estate.
Additionally, read more about other environmental efforts on the estate.