Our client Mark Freeman runs High House Farm in Cumbria in Northwest England.
Mark originally took over the dairy farm from his uncle, after working in the Electrical Engineering sector, Mark took control of the farming operations on the land in 2012.
Mark is in the process of building a farmhouse on the land, and explored hooking up the power to the mains grid, “We looked at connecting to the mains grid, but it was far too expensive with all the specifics we needed for such a large plot,” explains Mark.
Much of the surrounding land has been farmed for generations, and mains electricity is not widespread in much of the area, due to the expense and the terrain.
After discovering mains power was just too expensive, after being quoted upwards of £200,000, Mark sought alternative means to produce the power he needed.
Since the farmhouse is not expected to be completed until Christmas 2022, Mark purchased a static caravan which initially ran on an older diesel generator, and struggled to handle even the smallest loads. As Mark explains, “We’d be watching television in the evening and the generator would be running flat out, it just wasn’t efficient.”
With the cost of diesel reaching record heights of 180.90p earlier this year, continuing to use an inefficient generator just wasn’t an option.
Mark discovered that a friend of his on a neighbouring farm had a renewable energy system installed on his farm.
He began searching for alternative energy solutions, initially to replace the generator for his static caravan, with a view to powering up the new farmhouse upon completion, which is when he came across Powerguard.
He compared a few different businesses, but we were his preferred option from the beginning, “I called up and spoke to Powerguard, who were happy to give advice and once I had that phone call, I didn’t look for any other quotes.”
Powerguard director Graham Chapman took Mark’s call and recommended an efficient diesel generator, battery bank and a solar panel system, the panels of which could be fitted to the stable block to make the most of the South/North facing sunlight.
Mark specified that he had a blank canvas to work with in terms of infrastructure, and we recommended solar panels because of the large amount of space he had available to work with on the stable block, which also happened to be a fantastic spot for sun exposure for most of the day.
Due to Mark’s technical background, he was able to help the team install the system, after COVID-related staff shortages too.
“I was happy to help when they were short-staffed, and it gave me a chance to understand how the system works, as well.” Explains Mark.
“The new system is a massive improvement, especially with all the warm weather (topping up the battery pack) I’ve only used about £12 of diesel in the past few months.” Mark continues, “it’s just so much more efficient now.”