Essential Trading switches onto solar power

Bristol-based wholefood manufacturer and distributor Essential Trading has invested £100,000 in a new solar PV electricity system from Solarsense at its Fishponds warehouse.

Essential says the installation of solar power panels is the next logical step for a business that keen to harness all environmentally friendly advances in technology.

The solar PV (photovoltaic) technology captures the clean, natural energy of the sun.  When the sun hits the panels, it creates an electrical field within the layers of the panels.  This electrical field is converted to AC (usable) electricity and is taken up by the various demands for electrical power within the factory, warehouse and offices.

Essential is paid 32.9p/kWh for all electricity that is generated and is then free to use this energy. Any surplus electricity is then exported onto the grid and Essential is paid 3.1p/kWh for this.

The solar PV at Essential Trading will generate an estimated 38000 kWh of electricity per year.  This represents a saving of approximately 513 Tonnes of CO2 over the 25 year life of the FIT (Feed in Tariff – the Government scheme where businesses and home owners are rewarded if they invest in renewable electricity).  The cooperative borrowed the money to fund this project from ethical bank Triodos.  With the Government’s Feed in Tariff, the cash generated from the system will mean it pays for itself during the 10-year loan payback period and will thereafter be a source of income.

“We are delighted to have our solar power panels up and running now after all the months of planning,” says Eli Sarre, marketing manager for Essential Trading.  “We strive to produce the most sustainable food and non-food products and check the source of each ingredient rigorously,” she says.  “So it makes perfect sense for us to tap into the world’s source ingredient for life – the sun – to power our business naturally.”