High on the hill there's a solar goat herd
Monday, 28 May 2012 14:23

TWO SOMERSET goats are being kept in comp-bleat luxury thanks to a bright idea from their schoolboy owner.

When Christopher Grabham from Ashill asked his parents to buy the goats more than two years ago no-one realised how difficult it would be to get electricity to their enclosure.

The 14-year-old's Dad, Phil explained: "My son Christopher has two pet goats called Bill and Ben, who are both three-years-old.

"The goat enclosure where Bill and Ben live had no mains power and installing a new electric supply would have been difficult and costly.

"Christopher quickly identified that we could use solar power to keep them safe and snug."

Luckily Phil and his wife Lynn run a business based in Ilminster, which installs solar panels for homes and businesses.

Phil, who is the Managing Director of Solar Systems, added: "The goat enclosure is situated across the lane adjacent to our house, where we had no mains electricity.

"Christopher got the idea from our business and it wouldn't have been something we'd previously considered, but of course it's the perfect solution for the thrifty and eco-conscious smallholder.

"The obvious answer was to have a solar panel fitted to the roof of the goat shed, which generates enough energy to power the lighting and an electric trace heating system so that the water feeder doesn't freeze in the winter."

But it's not just Bill and Ben who have benefited from the generated electricity. Budding farmer Christopher has also raised ducks with the aid of the sun's rays.

Christopher said: "I also hatched out four runner ducks and when the ducks went to live with the goats, we needed additional protection from foxes.

"This was made possible by an electric fencing system, which is also powered by the solar panel and stored in a battery.

"This means that there is a constant supply of electricity, which comes from a green, renewable source."

Solar Systems is one of the first UK solar installation companies to be fully accredited to supply and fit domestic systems. The company has a wealth of experience working with manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.

Phil added: "There has never been a better time to buy solar PV panels. The price of panels has dropped and the Government's 21p FIT gives a financial return on investment of around 10-12%, which is index-linked and guaranteed for 25 years.

"BUT we know the Government is going to reduce the FIT and the guarantee period at the end of July (2012). Systems have to be installed and registered to qualify for the 21p and 25-year guarantee before July 31. So customers need to take advantage of the scheme and place their orders now."

Systems have to be installed and registered to qualify for the 21p and 25-year guarantee by July 31. Customers are advised to take advantage of the scheme and place their orders now.

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