Wednesday, 30 September 2021 09:04

Mackie’s switches on Scotland’s largest solar panel farm

Mackie’s switches on Scotland’s largest solar panel farm flickr: Andreas Demmelbauer

Mackie’s of Scotland is set to switch on the largest solar panel farm in the country today, which will generate the equivalent amount of energy required to make four million litres of ice cream.

The Aberdeenshire farm installation of almost 7,000 solar PV panels will have a capacity of 1.8MW and is connecting to the grid today. A fourth 500kW wind turbine and biomass energy plant have also been installed, marking the latest stage in the company’s £6.5million renewables investment.

Local firm Absolute Solar and Wind Ltd project managed the delivery of the solar panel farm and turbine, having previously worked with Mackie’s on a new biomass heating system earlier this year.

The business can now produce 10.5 million kWh of green electricity each year, with approximately 40% used on the farm with the excess sold via the grid.

Since 2000, Mackie’s energy requirements have doubled to around 4 million kWh per year, mirroring the increased volume of ice cream produced as a result of investment in additional freezers, milking robots and packaging machinery, all of which is done on site.

Mac Mackie, managing director of Mackie’s of Scotland, said: “One of our goals is to be self-sufficient in renewable energy. A mix of different types of renewable energy makes great sense because they can produce peaks at different times.

“The wind turbines typically produce more power over winter months and the night, while the Solar panels obviously produce more electricity in the spring and summer. It does seem perfect for an ice cream company to be reliant on the sun in more ways than one!”

Gerry Stephens, finance director for Mackie’s of Scotland, said: “The site is wonderfully discreet, in that the slope is only visible close up, by walking over the brow of the hill, or by flying overhead.

“The total Solar farm installation Mackie’s will now saving approximately 850 more tonnes per year of CO2, further adding to our pioneering sustainable credentials.”

Andrew McGown, director and head of solar at Absolute, added: “We believe this project will be the first and largest solar farm installed in Scotland, and one that we are incredibly excited to have been involved in.

“With any new project we work directly with the client to understand their needs, their business location and their future ambitions. From there we are able to make recommendations with regards the best renewable solution available to them.”

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