Scotland's largest private solar farm a shining success

Scotland's largest privately owned solar farm is on track to record just under 1.5 million kilowatt hours in 2016, its first year in operation.

Mackie's MD Mac Mackie at his firm's solar farm in Aberdeenshire - the largest privately-owned facility of its type in the country. Picture: Contributed

Based on a farm near Westerton, Aberdeenshire, the 10-acre facility was built for the family-owned Mackie’s ice cream business and has a total installed capacity of 1.8MW.

It complements four wind turbines, with a total of 3MW, providing peak power in summer when wind levels tend to drop.

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The 7000-panel solar farm, installed by Loch Lomond-based Absolute Solar and Wind, is capable of creating enough electricity to power 485 homes. Its 2016 output is five per cent above estimates thanks to favourable weather conditions.

Managing director Mac Mackie said he was proud to be carrying on the legacy of his father, Maitland Mackie, a passionate environmentalist and founder of the family business.

“My father was a pioneer in wind energy, trialling wind power with an early 50KW model in 1982 and later rejoicing in the output from our four wind turbines which total 3MW and were installed in stages from 2005,” he said.

“The solar farm was completed in 2015, and this development carries on his dream of converting Mackie’s - and Scotland - towards self-sufficiency in renewable energy.

“Thanks to that foresight we now export a surplus of renewable electricity to the grid – a huge step towards our vision to become the greenest company in Britain.”

“We’re constantly challenging ourselves to be as green as possible and working with Absolute helps us ensure we get the best out of our renewable solutions.”

The firm is now planning a smaller array of solar panels to be fitted on a byre roof and a further 400 kW of heating power for the office and houses comes from a biomass plant.