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Bird conservation centre flies off the grid

Solar battery storage is next step to green future for wildlife park

The Bird Gardens Scotland have every reason to crow about their green credentials.

After building a ‘baby barn’ from straw bales for young chicks to be incubated and reared, and taking the water supply off-grid with a borehole and on-site soakaway, director Owen Joiner decided to build a new visitor centre, including a café and classroom, where an array of solar PV panels could be installed to supply electricity to the site.

To take his sustainability a step further, he turned to Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service for advice on installing battery storage to take the centre in Lauder completely off the grid.

A consultant visited the site where rare breeds are bred and explained in his report that Owen could save £2,953 from his energy bills, reducing his carbon emissions by 100%.

A 40kWp system was installed which gives an estimated annual generation of 37,856kWh when taking into account the annual hours of sunshine in the area.

If Owen had not gone down the renewable energy route, electricity would have come from a diesel generator. The benefits to renewable energy technologies include the generation of off-grid, carbon neutral electricity and heat, which is not affected by fluctuating energy prices.

Owen took advantage of an interest-free Scottish Government SME Loan to help fund the project that he said was done “on a shoestring”.

Owen said:

“The staff at Zero Waste Scotland were fantastic. And in terms of going through the loan process it was quite straightforward…lots of support and a really positive experience.”

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