Giant sun-tracking renewable energy panel installed at Norfolk hall

A pioneering south Norfolk house has begun harvesting renewable energy for itself and local residents following the installation of an innovative solar scheme.

A 60sqm sun-tracking photovoltaic panel has been unveiled at Boyland Hall near Long Stratton, which is claimed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

The 9KW solar system uses GPS technology and astronomical calculations to follow the sun, which its makers say generates up to 45pc more electricity than a fixed panel.

The installation of the system comes after Nigel Stringer, the owner of the hall at Morningthorpe, decided to make his new home 'carbon negative'. His house is still under construction after a more than five year build.

The contemporary curved building, which has more than 40 rooms, will receive all of its electricity from the renewable energy source during the day time and will be putting electricity into the grid to power another three homes.


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The project handover received a visit from Thomas Czarnecki, of the Kirchner Solar Group, who flew in from Germany especially to celebrate the company's first UK installation.

Mr Stringer said he hoped other home owners will think about solar energy with the government paying a 43p feed-in tariff for every kilowatt of energy produced over the 25 year lifespan of the project.

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'My original plan was for a fixed system and it went on from there and I was overwhelmed by the idea. It fits in with the architecture of the house and contemporary design.'

'We should be carbon negative by putting back more than we are using and we should at least try to be carbon neutral. Not everyone can achieve a carbon neutral house, but those that can do their bit should do so to help save the planet,' he said.

The �40,000 solar tracking system was installed by Suffolk-based Ion Energy, which should pay for itself in around seven years.

The oak timber curved house, which is designed to capture the sun's rays to heat the building, also has a biofuel boiler heating system to further boost its environmental credentials.

The photovoltaic system has been feeding into the National Grid for the last three weeks, despite Boyland Hall not being ready for habitation. Mr Stringer and his family are hoping to move into the completed house next year.

The modern home sits on the 11 acre grounds of a 19th century country house that was demolished in the mid-1940s after falling into disrepair.

Mr Czarnecki said the technology installed at the hall was more accurate than other sun-tracking solar schemes, which operated using sensors.

'We see this as just the beginning of our presence here in the UK, which is rapidly catching up with the rest of Europe in its very real promotion of renewable energy systems,' he said.

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