Pitlivie Farm, Muirdrum

Pitlivie Farm, near Carnoustie in Angus is the site of one of Scotland largest agricultural roof mounted PV installations.

The farm owned and managed by Hugh Niven grows and supplies potatoes for distributor Albert Bartlett. With a high energy requirement from long term storage of produce, rising electricity costs have led Hugh to explore ways to gain greater control of the farm’s energy costs.

Awareness of other PV installations completed locally provided us with the opportunity to talk to Hugh about the energy profile of his farm and present the key benefits of generating electricity through solar PV.

The electricity supply at Pitlivie consists of two meter points and two transformers, supplying electricity for a variety of farm equipment across the site. We took the decision to split the array between the two transformers allowing Hugh to maximise his onsite usage. An 80kWp array feeds one of the transformers, generating power for the farm’s grain drier, washer plant and one of the farm’s cold storage units. A further 160kWp array feeds the other transformer, powering the potato grader and multiple remaining cold storage units.

The decision was made to initially install a 50kWp array under permitted development works. Once planning permission was received the full 240kWp multiple roof array was completed. The system was spread across four roofs. The nine hundred and sixty panel array was fixed directly to the roof purlins and is supported by nine PowerOne inverters and two G59 relays.

In the first few weeks of production the system is already outperforming our projections. At this pace the system will have paid for itself in less than six years, generating a total Feed In Tariff income and energy cost saving for the Niven’s of £737,000 over 20 years. In addition to the financial benefits, the PV system is significantly reducing the farm’s carbon emissions, making it more attractive to their supply chain.

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