Garden Centre to Cut Energy Costs by 75%

Energy costs at Northamptonshire’s biggest garden centre are set to drop by more than £40,000 per year as investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) panels means 75% of its future energy will come from the sun (see ‘notes to editors’ for performance data).

Two new solar PV systems have been installed at the 10-acre Bell Plantation garden centre on Watling Lane in Towcester totalling 250 panels and delivering a generating power of 97 kilowatts (kW) at peak.

Spread across the rooftops of the site’s two largest buildings, the solar installation will generate approximately 85,000kWh of electricity annually, reducing the site’s carbon emissions by more than 25 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking five petrol cars off the road. Combined with their two existing systems, Bell Plantation now generates three quarters of its own energy in an entirely emissions-free way.

Design and installation of the new energy system was completed by specialist renewable energy provider Geo Green Power as part of an ongoing partnership with Bell Plantation.

A comprehensive plan meant that the site remained fully open to customers while the Geo Green team worked for two weeks behind the scenes to install the system.

The new solar panel installation is the latest phase of a partnership between the two companies. Geo Green Power has previously installed two solar PV systems (23kW and 46kW) as well as ground source heat pumps (2x 87 kW) and a Biomass Boiler (100 kW) which together heat 94% of the space on site which includes a food hall, cafe, farm shop, poultry centre, and playbarn for children.

Ashley Warren, Managing Director, Bell Plantation: “We started this company because we believe passionately in supporting the great outdoors and want to do our bit to limit climate change. We wanted to reduce our carbon footprint and Geo Green’s renewable energy systems, both the solar and the heat pump, have given us independence and control over our energy supply and usage. Now, we’ll be able to reduce both our climate impact and hugely reduce our energy costs. That’s massively important to a company like ours which has substantial energy needs.

“We see more and more damage caused by climate change every year and with energy prices surging it made sense from both an environmental and financial perspective to install more solar panels onto our other buildings. Fortunately, we had an existing relationship with Geo Green and so we knew that together we could deliver this project on time and on budget. There’s plenty more to do and our customers expect it of us so I’m sure we’ll see further development of our renewable energy systems over the next few years. I’m so pleased with the results that I’ve had Geo Green design and fit a system to my own house!”

Bell Plantation estimates that the capital cost of the solar installation will be repaid within five years, including ongoing maintenance costs, and that the firm’s energy bills will be negligible from that point onwards as Geo Green’s solar panels are under guarantee for 25 years.

James Cunningham, Managing Director, Geo Green Power: “We’re now seeing a lot of businesses getting really serious about renewable energy. Modern renewable systems have become much more efficient in recent years and at the same time installation costs have reduced. Coupled with mounting evidence of the damage done by fossil fuels, huge increases in energy costs and the threat over supply that’s emerged from the war in Ukraine, the calculations for business have completely changed and renewables make more sense than ever.”

Geo Green Power operates nationwide from its head office in Wysall on the Nottinghamshire/ Leicestershire border, providing solar PV installations, renewable heating engineering, battery storage systems, electric vehicle charging and other insurance backed renewable energy systems to both commercial and domestic customers.

At any one time the company is carrying out multiple renewable energy infrastructure projects, giving its customers control of their energy needs and supporting their sustainability goals.

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