It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! Biomass Servicing on Sanday.

Anna and Gille's property on Sanday

The island of Sanday in Orkney is known for its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. It is also the home of Anna & Gilles, for whom Plumbing and Renewables Ltd first installed an Okofen PES12 vacuum fed pellet boiler and 2 x Grant Sahara Solar Thermal panels back in 2015. These both fed a 250l indirect unvented hot water cylinder with solar coil to provide the property with a renewable source of year-round heating and hot water. Since then we have visited them again to conduct servicing and to install a 5kW Ecodan Air Source Heat Pump to an outbuilding in 2017. Also since 2015 the site now boasts a wind turbine providing electricity and enabling the property to be completely off-grid.

Renewable servicing views on Sanday              Servicing flight

This year, it was Barry’s turn to undertake the trip to conduct the essential servicing required to maintain the vital heating and hot water systems for this beautiful, but oh so isolated of homes. The round trip took a total of 18 hours and included 3 flights and 2 ferries, plus taxis and trains. Barry travelled from our base in Moray to Inverness Airport where he caught a flight to Kirkwall in Orkney. From here, he caught one of the UK’s shortest commercial flights from Kirkwall to Sanday. A distance of only 23 miles, the tiny twin-prop Britten Norman Islander aircraft has capacity for 8 passengers plus one flight dec crew and the journey takes a total of only 12 mins. “The views were spectacular” recalls Barry, “although I was disappointed by the lack of in-flight movie or drinks service!” From the very basic Sanday aerodrome, he was picked up by Anna and taken to the property.

The initial renewable install, back in 2015

The initial install, back in 2015

In addition to the wind turbine, there have been many changes on the site. Anna and Gilles have carried out a lot of work and made several upgrades; all the more impressive when you consider the difficulties they have encouraging tradespersons to come to the island and getting hold of parts/equipment! However, the wonderful weather and clear blue skies showed off the now familiar, stunning scenery and beautiful setting we all remember. On days like this, it is not hard to understand what draws people to live in such a remote location. However, as Anna explains, conditions are not always this perfect and their boiler is an absolute essential; particularly in the colder months.

Still basked in glorious sunshine, Barry returned the following day, this time making his way across the island to St Margaret’s Hope where he caught the Ferry to Kirkwall. “I couldn’t have hoped for better weather for the crossing” says Barry, “for once I wasn’t sea-sick!” It was then just a matter of the flight from Kirkwall to Inverness and back to the relative metropolis of Moray!

Renewable technology in the plant room                                 Servicing ferry trip

It is essential that all heating systems are regularly serviced and maintained, wherever the location! It ensures that the owners continue to receive reliable heating and hot water and helps to prevent any costly and inconvenient breakdowns. Annual servicing is also a condition for many product warranties and required for the continuation of any RHI payments. In addition to the standard maintenance, flues should not be neglected either! We recommend all flues be swept yearly to ensure the efficiency of the boiler and prevent any blockages. Should you want any advice regarding the servicing or maintenance of your heating and hot water system, please do not hesitate to contact Plumbing and Renewables Ltd at

Other posts of Interest

Renewable Energy and Funding