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Sun shines on Wales' first solar abbatoir

Wales' first solar-powered abattoir has been switched on to help process more than 25,000 livestock annually, according to its owners.

Gareth Jones from Carbon Zero with Tomos, Brian and Rob Evan

Gareth Jones from Carbon Zero with Tomos, Brian and Rob Evan

The GR Evans and Co Abattoir, near Corwen, in North Wales, uses 120 solar panels on its roof to help power the plant and to cut down its £2,000-a-month electricity bills.

It now has a 30-kilowatt solar system on its roof, which should generate more than 25,000 kilowatt hours a year, which is enough to power six family homes.

The abattoir processes lambs, pigs and cattle, and it is believed that the system, which cost less than £30,000, will pay for itself within six years.

It was installed in just three days by St Asaph-based solar energy specialists, Carbon Zero Renewables, and the early April sunshine has meant it’s been off to a flying start.

'There’s a good spread of sunshine all day'

Gareth Jones, managing director of Carbon Zero Renewables, said: “We kitted Mr Evans’ home with infra-red heating panels before Christmas, so he knew about us and how we work.

“There are an awful lot of large buildings in the countryside that have big roof areas which are ideal for solar power systems and the abattoir here is perfect. And like many farming-related buildings, it also has a high electrical usage.”

“The building here has a great open aspect so there’s a good spread of sunshine all through the day.

“We would ideally have liked to put even more panels on the roof but were limited to 120 by the power company.

“But that is still enough to make a big hole in Mr Evans’ electricity bill.

“All the power generated is used on the site in the equipment, such as the fridges and the scalding tanks.

“We are already looking into a second-phase project that includes more panels and a battery storage system to provide further power for high usage appliances during the night.

“It’s nice that this is a family business and that this system will help them operate well into the future.

“It will generate power for them for over 20 years.”

'I like anything for nothing and sunshine is free'

The decision to go for solar was made by business chairman Bryan Evans, whose father founded the family butcher business in Corwen in 1938 where they still have a shop.

GR Evans and Co is into its fourth generation. Bryan and son Rob have been joined in the business by Rob’s son Tomos.

Bryan said: “I had been thinking of alternative power since we built the abattoir here in 1994 but I hadn’t been able to find it at the right price before. I like anything for nothing and sunshine is free.

“But I’ve always been interested in technology and we use heat recovery exchangers on the motors of the refrigeration plant to heat the water here.

“I’m trying to look to the future and we don’t have to pay for the sun, we just need to find a way to convert it.

“The fitting team started work here on a Monday and were finished by Wednesday even though the weather was awful.”

The abbatoir supplies butchers and wholesalers across North Wales and as far as Oswestry, Liverpool and Chester across the border in England and Tywyn and Aberdyfi in West Wales
 
The plant operates three days a week and the business employs up to 12 staff.

As well as slaughtering animals for butchers and wholesalers, Mr Evans also buys livestock at farmers’ auctions in Welshpool, Ruthin, Oswestry, Bala and St Asaph.

Carbon Zero Renewables recently won two international solar panel industry awards.

Around 700,000 properties in the UK have chosen to go solar-powered.

Prices for solar installations start at £4,995.

Source: Wales Online





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