A GARDEN centre in Kent has recently been able to reap the benefits of installing solar panels on its roof.
Millbrook Garden Centre in Gravesend had the panels fitted in July, 2012 and has seen a 45% saving on electricity bills in the first year compared to the previous 12 months.
Matthew Upton, Manager of Millbrook Garden Centre, which is located on Station Road in Southfleet, said: ?We had a 50 kilowatt peak solar PV array installed by NCS Technology on a south east facing roof of the garden centre in late July, 2012.?A total of 204 panels were fitted.
?The panels produce electricity in any light. Of course the better the light, the more energy but we still produce some on a grey day in the winter.
?We do not put any electricity back into the National Grid as we use it all due to the lights, kitchen and IT equipment we have on-site.?The panels simply reduce our electricity bill.?
The panels produce an average of 132 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day.
During the 12 months since the panels were installed, they have generated more than 50,000kWh of electricity, which represents 18% of Millbrook Garden Centre?s total electricity usage over the same period the previous year.
Matthew added: ?Not only do we save money by producing our own electricity, we also qualify for the Government?s Feed in Tariffs (FiTs). This means we are paid a rate for every unit of electricity we produce whether we use it or not.
?We have generated 18% of our total electricity consumption and with the FiT income included we have reduced our electricity bills by 45%. This obviously makes a huge difference to the business and we are delighted that the panels have worked so well for us.?
Millbrook Garden Centre is a family-run, independent garden centre. It provides customers with a wide range of quality plants, shrubs, trees, furniture, barbecues, gifts and food items.
Its friendly and knowledgeable staff are on-hand to give visitors help and advice on all gardening matters. Millbrook Garden Centre has its own nursery, where it grows a third of the plants sold at the centre in an attempt to reduce plant miles.
The Greencaf?, which seats up to 90 customers, serves hot and cold drinks, snacks, breakfasts and light lunches, Sunday roasts and children?s meals using fresh, seasonal produce some of which is grown at the centre.
Millbrook Garden Centre has a fully equipped events room available for hire with catering facilities if required. For further information on booking the events room, please call 01474 331135.
For more information, please visit Millbrook Garden Centre, which is located on Station Road in Southfleet, call 01474 331 135, visit www.millbrookgc.co.uk, log on to www.facebook.com/MillbrookGardenCentreGravesend or follow the company on Twitter by visiting www.twitter.com/MillbrookGC.