As part of diversification and trying to reduce our carbon footprint, the Estate has invested in solar energy. The panels are mainly located on agricultural buildings. These solar arrays range in power output from 5.98Kw at Home Farm to 149.91Kw at Manor Farm, Farleigh Wallop. The Estate uses as much of the solar energy it produces as possible. In the past year the Estate produced a total of 220,000kwh of electricity, which could run approximately 45 homes.
In the summer of 2014 the Estate installed a district heating network at Home Farm yard to heat Farleigh House and the neighbouring houses, cottages and commercial premises. Two 200Kw wood chip boilers power the system by heating water, which is then into heat exchangers located in each property.
Over the year, the Estate brings in contractors to convert 120 metres of softwood timber into 290m3 of wood chip. This is fed into the boilers from an adjoining converted Dutch barn via augers. The efficiency of the combustion process is such that the resulting ash residue can be removed in just a small bucket once a month. Timber is stacked for drying on the Estate near to where we fell it, which takes approximately two years. The Estate has 1,018 acres of woodland and is completely self -sufficient in timber for heating purposes. Wood for the district heating system comes from the annual thinning and weeding programme that is part of the 20-year Estate woodland plan, together with some small areas of conifer clear-felled for replanting with appropriate species.
The Estate is also the ground landlord to an anaerobic digestion plant, built in 2012 by Tamar Energy, In 2018 Biogen completed the acquisition of Tamar Energy and in doing so created one of the largest independent AD operating companies in the UK. It is located on brownfield land that was the site of a former dairy. They take in up to 40,000 tonnes per annum of food waste that would otherwise be destined for landfill, capture the methane gas emitted by the process of anaerobic digestion of the waste and convert it to electricity via a (combined heat & power) unit. They then sell the electricity generated to the National Grid. The by-product of the digestion process, known as digestate, is used as a fertiliser and is spread on arable land on the Estate and other local farms. At full capacity the plant produces enough electricity for 1,500 homes.