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Solar powered lobsters

Date: 12 Jun 2012

The National Lobster Hatchery

The National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow will use solar power to grow its lobsters after having solar PV installed by Plug into the Sun. The NLH had solar panels installed on the roof which will now help to power the hatchery that rears baby lobsters and then releases them back into the wild.

The 9kWp solar PV system will generate approximately 8000kWh per year saving over 4 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The installation was quite challenging due to the orientation of the building.

Andrew Tanner, managing director of Plug Into the Sun said: "Our remit was to maximize the whole roof, which meant installing on the South, East and West facing roofs. We have wired the system to maximise the output from each orientation and will be monitoring the performance so we will be able to see how well each roof performs.

“Due to the site being very prominent in a conservation area in Padstow we used all black modules to blend in with the slate roof so the system fits in aesthetically well. We have also just completed an installation on the Bike hire shop in Wadebridge so we have both ends of the Camel trail covered with solar PV!"

General Manager of the National Lobster Hatchery Dominic Boothroyd said that it was only natural for the NLH to be concerned about its own sustainability and they have taken lots of measures to reduce their carbon footprint.

Dominic said: “Initially we focussed on reducing electrical consumption in the building with a traffic lighting system and a thorough program of staff awareness. Recently the installation of PV panels is going to reduce our use of fossil fuels even more.”

The hatchery’s programme is committed to sustainability on all levels and was set up initially after seeing a decline in lobster stocks in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Dominic said: “The National Lobster Hatchery is all about sustainability - from a fisheries perspective; our education program focuses on the key sustainability issues associated with fisheries, our conservation program creates additional stock to support our coastal communities and our research program focuses on improving restocking and stock enhancement work.”

Looking after a maximum of 40.000 lobsters, volunteers hand feed the juveniles until they are old enough for release at three months.

The hatchery is committed to further research and education and is currently looking into developing culture techniques for the European lobster and assessing the impact of their seeding programme.

The enigmatic appeal of lobsters has made the hatchery’s ‘adopt a lobster’ programme a hit – with over 5000 lobsters adopted last year alone.

If you are interested in volunteering at the hatchery then please contact Dom Boothroyd by telephone on 01841 533877 or by email on