Renewables Working Group 2013

The Renewables Working Group usually meets monthly. Below are some of the projects we have been working on.  If you would like to be part of the group or you have any questions, please contact Naomi Clarke 07999 585732

Solar at Cultybraggan

The 10 kW of Solar Photovoltaic panels installed on Wild thyme’s building 15 months ago has generated 6,800 KWh of energy.  This is roughly 6,000 KWh per annum.  It was estimated that they would produce 7500 KWh per annum so they are running at about 80% efficiency.  This will provide a Feed in Tariff income of around £2,570.

The Camp (excluding Bunker) used 140,842 KWh for Apr 12 - Mar 13. Assuming the 6,000 from solar for the year, total electricity use was 147,000 KWh, so solar last year was currently 4% of power used.  And we can expect that to be 5% in an average year if we achieve the average 7,500 KWh per year.



Future Solar at Cultybraggan

The Renewables Working Group have been investigating the potential to increase solar power at the camp.  Some ideas being explored are:

1) Increase array on Wild Thyme from 10 Kw to 30kW.  This would cost in the region of £27,000, with a payback of 5.5 years and a 20 year income of £98,624

2) Install a 10 kW array on the site of the bunker.  Costs and income to be confirmed.

3) Install up to 150 Kw array on a sloped roof constructed on the rifle range site.  This would require a roof/frame to be constructwed at additional cost byut the installation itself would cost around £170,000 with a payback period of 12 years and the income over 25 years is estimated at £1,140,367.

4) Ground mounted arrays at various points around the camp and also on the sewage treatment site.

Check back here soon for updates.


Solar Panels on the Wilde Thyme Building, CultyBraggan Camp



District Heating System

The biomass district heating system at Cultybraggan Camp was installed 12 months ago -

  1. To further the sustainable development aims of the Trust by providing renewably sourced heat to users on site.
  2. To provide an income stream to the Trust over the long term.
  3. As a pilot scheme, to provide invaluable data and information for other communities embarking on such a project.

The performance of the system will be updated here shortly.

If you would like to locate your business at the Camp and make use of the District Heating System, please contact our agent Doug Smart:  01764 670 335 or  07850 517 323

If you are a community group and would like to learn more about our experiences in setting up these systems, please contact the office: 01764 670769 or



Laggan wood

Community Woodfuel

Naomi Clarke visited Fintry Development Trust in September 2012.  One of the renewable projects that they promote is a bulk woodfuel scheme whereby they buy bagged wood in bulk and sell it onto the community at a reduced rate.  This sparked much discussion among the Cultybraggan Working Group and RWG about what potential there is in Comrie to do this. The heat from the DHS could also be used to either dry wood (using a purchased log drying kit) or to keep wood dry.     Wood could be supplied from windfall of local estates and also Laggan Wood.

A meeting was organised with Forest Enterprise and various interested local community groups to discuss a partnership agreement for the management of the woodland. There were many different questions and ideas put forward and together with the fact that Forest Enterprise are looking for community input into their design planning process, led to the conclusion that a more detailed meeting was required.  This will be in the form of Forestry Enterprise led walks around the woods followed by an open meeting to discuss and prioritise ideas.

The dates for this event will be announced soon.



RWG have spent considerable time investigating various hydropower possibilities for Comrie.  Sadly the overall conclusion is that there are no suitable sites! In summary:

1) Drummond Fish Farm – The weir was thought to have potential, but the the fastest flow from the weir came from the opposite bank.  This would involve very expensive and complicated civil engineering to harvest the hydro potential.  A lade on the fish farm site, coming off the weir had some potential for an easier installation.  James Buchan from CES looked at the flows and calculated a hydropower potential of 25kW from this lade.  This would cost around £250,000 to develop.  Over 20 years, income from this would just enable a loan to be paid off with very little revenue being raised.  There would also be the approximate £400,000 purchase of the land to fund.  If it was grant funded, FIT could not be sought and the scheme could only be used as electricity generation on site.

2) Hillground at Cultybraggan - The total slope from the top of the proposed site to the point at which it returns to the river is deemed low enough that fish might migrate upstream, so any man made structures would impact on this.  The catchment area has also been overestimated, meaning there would be low flow.  This along with the low slope means that even a small scheme is unviable.

3) Town weir site – the legal costs and complications in finding all of the landowners involved was prohibitive and the suitability of the site was also in question from the feasibility studies.