We have installed a 105 kilowatt solar PV system on our new building at Tyers Hall Farm, which is now commissioned and running successfully. There is clearly a need for all of society to respond swiftly to the challenges of climate change and this renewable energy system, which will help to reduce carbon emissions, is a good step in this direction.
In the first week of operation, the solar system generated over 2800 kilowatt hours, which is the amount of electricity we need to process about 20,000 litres of milk in the dairy. This not only helps to reduce our electricity bills, but also saves the equivalent of 1.27 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Carbon Dioxide is the main gas which causes global warming and associated climate change. The challenge is to put less Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere and to remove some of what is there already. Longley Farm has been a pioneer in finding ways to do this. Large areas of hedges and trees (which absorb CO2) have been planted, dairy waste is recycled as fertiliser (cutting the need for petro-chemical based products) and we had the first commercial wind power generator in the country (reducing the reliance on coal).
Looking forwards, we will be changing the ways we farm, doing things such as increasing the amount of permanent pasture, to reduce ploughing and to maximise the absorption of carbon into the soil.
We are delighted that the Government is now not only accepting that change is needed, but is actively coming on board with targets aimed at national carbon neutrality. However, we are under no illusions that this will not come without massive changes in lifestyles. The ways we currently live, work and shop will all have to be re-examined; with challenges coming in areas such as energy-inefficient housing, long-distance commuting or reliance on supermarkets.