Ice cream firm builds ‘Scotland’s largest solar panel farm’

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Mackie's believes it has built the ‘largest solar panel farm in Scotland’
Mackie's believes it has built the ‘largest solar panel farm in Scotland’

Related tags Renewable energy Photovoltaics

Ice Cream manufacturer Mackie’s of Scotland will switch on the ‘largest solar panel farm in Scotland’ when it goes on grid this week (September 30), in a bid meet its rising energy requirements, the firm claimed.

The installation of almost 7,000 solar photovoltaic panels on the Aberdeenshire farm will have a capacity of 1.8MW, the equivalent amount of energy needed to make 4Ml of Mackie’s ice cream.

The total solar farm installation will save Mackie’s of Scotland 850t a year of carbon dioxide, the firm claimed.

The new solar panels are part of a wider £6.5M investment in renewables by the firm off the back of its energy requirements doubling since 2000 to around 4M kWh an hour as a result of a 5% growth in turnover to £11.5M, the firm claimed.


The firm’s md Mac Mackie said different types of renewables produced peaks at different times and using multiple renewables would help it become self-sufficient.

“The wind turbines typically produce more power over winter months and the night, while the solar panels obviously produce more electricity in the spring and summer,” ​he said.

“It does seem perfect for an ice cream company to be reliant on the sun in more ways than one.”

Mackie’s renewable energy facts:

  • Mackie’s new solar panel farm is the same size as five football pitches
  • Its capacity of 1.8MW is enough to power 375 homes
  • Absolute installed 6,912 panels each with 260W capacity using over 70,000m of direct current cable

The new 10 acre solar panels site has been built on former grass land rather than arable land to leave prime farmland available for food production, he added.

Also included in the £6.5M renewables investment was a fourth 500kW wind turbine and new bio-mass energy plant. 

Mackie’s can now produce a total of 10.5M kWh of green electricity each year. Overall, approximately 40% of that energy will be used directly on the farm, with the excess sold via the grid to 100% renewable energy supplier, Good Energy, it claimed.

‘Largest in Scotland’

The solar panels were designed and installed by local business Absolute.

Absolute director and head of solar Andrew McGown said: “We believe this project will be the first and largest solar farm installed in Scotland, and one that we are incredibly excited to have been involved in.”

Dr Colin Anderson, of Edinburgh University, who has been acting as technical advisor to Mackie’s, said: "As well as being the largest solar array in Scotland, Mackie'​s project is the first in Scotland to use an innovative solid-state control system to regulate the grid voltage at the point of connection.

“This enables the solar array to operate in parallel with the new wind turbine, allowing these two complementary forms of generation to work together and maximise the renewable energy generated at the site.”

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