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Navigating the low carbon funding trail

The 400kW system we installed for William Hughes Group in Stalbridge had 40% of its capital cost funded by Low Carbon Dorset.

The £100,000 grant for this £250,000 project brought the payback period and the unit price of electricity down dramatically, and made the economic argument for self-generation utterly compelling.

We worked closely with both parties to find the best solution in terms of environmental and economic return, and to ensure the whole process, from paperwork to panel-fitting, went smoothly.

3.2p per kWh

William Hughes are now paying an equivalent forward buying price of just over 3p per kWh for the 25 year lifetime of the system.

This contrasts with the 9p per kWh paid on average by UK manufacturers, and between 13p and 17p paid by businesses in other sectors*.

The system provides over 25% of the electricity used at the Stalbridge site, where William Hughes design and manufacture custom-made springs, wire forms and assemblies for the automotive and aerospace industries.

In addition to making big savings on their electricity bills, they will also save nearly 100 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Dorset’s largest

At 400kW and comprising 1,300 PV panels, the Stalbridge installation is one of the largest renewable energy installations in the county, and the largest single-site array to be funded by Low Carbon Dorset.
Its completion coincided with confirmation that they’d secured an additional £5m to extend the scheme into 2023.

It was the third project we’d completed with Low Carbon Dorset, adding to systems we’d provided for Portland-based Print Team and Groveley Precision Engineering in Christchurch.

Other counties also available

The Low Carbon Dorset programme has funded projects to date that have reduced carbon emissions across the county by 4,000 tonnes a year.

We also have experience with similar schemes that are in operation in across the south of England. Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire all currently have programmes of similar structure and intent, with grants available from 30% to 50% of the capital cost and up to £100,000 in value.

*Source: BEIS report, September 2020

Based on our positive experience, I strongly believe more businesses should follow our example. We would certainly recommend CleanEarth to anybody thinking of installing a sizeable array.

Max Hughes
Managing Director, William Hughes