Cupar North Solar Community (CNSC)


Project lead: Sustainable Cupar

Partners: N/A

Award Amount: £7,200

Status: Completed March 2015

Area: Fife

This project has considered the potential heat demand in existing areas of Cupar, and in Cupar North. This work was based on available information from the Fife Council heat map, and from basic information available in the Cupar North development plans. Four zones of heat demand were identified; Cupar East, Cupar West, Cupar South; Cupar Central and Cupar North. The largest currently existing space, hot water and process demands for domestic, commercial and industrial use were estimated to be Cupar Central at 6.6million kWh per year and Cupar East at 3.8 million kWh per year. Cupar North was estimated to have a heat load in the region of 1.8million kWh per year. The report estimated the length and cost of the district heating network (DHN) that may be required and the sizes of potential heat sources. 

The rest of the report considered the following renewable energy technologies; photovoltaics, anaerobic digestion and heat pumps with potential for heat recovery from treated effluent arising from a water treatment plant. Of these opportunities the most attractive appeared to be the heat pump for recovering heat from the treated effluent, although it is believed that such a scheme would not be eligible for RHI at present. Two example heat pumps systems were used as a basis to determine a simple cost benefit analysis. Based on the assumptions used for the analysis the heat pump could potentially pay back in less than one year or less than three years depending on the temperature of heat required in the district heating. 

With regards to potential for anaerobic digestion (AD), an audit of feedstocks that could potentially be available in the area was completed based on information gathered historically by Synergie Environ and information gathered by members of Sustainable Cupar. The results can be found in Appendix 1 of the report. In addition to this a simple analysis was conducted on feasibility of installing two small scale AD plants; one processing sewage sludge and one processing waste vegetables. The digesters used in the analysis are containerised solutions produced by a company called SEAB energy. The analysis is basic and considers only the capital cost of purchasing the plant, maintenance costs and revenues from the Feed in Tariff (FiT) and renewable heat incentive (RHI). The payback periods were estimated to be 7.7 years for the sewage sludge plant, and 4.9 years for the waste vegetable plant. These solutions are used only for the purposes of demonstration. The two main points to make are that this analysis does not account for the value or costs of feedstocks. When feedstock value is accounted for it is likely that the sewage sludge plant will look increasingly economically attractive as sewage sludge may be able to attract a gate fee. The waste vegetable plant may have a longer payback time due to waste vegetables having value elsewhere, such as animal feed for example. However if Sustainable Cupar would like to investigate the potential for AD further, it is recommended that the cost of alternative feedstocks and AD systems available from other technology suppliers is assessed in greater detail.

The viability of photovoltaics is largely dependent on the capital costs of installations. Two areas of analysis were conducted; the first looking at potential for installing small scale domestic installations, the second looking at the potential for installing a larger PV array. Because the smaller scale domestic projects can attract the higher rate FIT tariff, in this situation the viability is more attractive for these smaller systems however payback times are only reasonable for south facing arrays and if capital costs are found to be at the lower end of the range used for the analysis. To conclude, the viability of PV depends largely on the capital costs and quotations from suppliers will be required in order to verify this.

Supported Documents / Outputs

District heating outline feasibility; Matching demand with potential heat sources

Cupar North Development Feasibility Study