Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Glowing Start For Council Solar Project

Solar panels on the roof of a council building have hit their year one energy generation target a month ahead of schedule, saving nearly £3,000.

The panels on South Cambridgeshire District Council offices in Cambourne were installed in July last year in partnership with Cambourne Parish Council, and have generated over 25,000kw of energy and saved over 14,000kg of carbon dioxide already, helping the Council be greener and make direct savings on its electricity bill.

The installation was part of a bigger innovative project across Cambourne making the most of £950,000 of developer funding to provide free electricity for several public buildings and set up a long-term Cambourne Parish Energy Fund for further projects to cut carbon emissions and energy bills for the community.

The Fund uses the Government’s Clean Energy Cash-back scheme which provides a guaranteed long-term income for each unit of renewable generated energy – known as the Feed-in Tariff. As the fund grows it will be used by the Parish Council to directly support future green projects across the village.

As well as the District Council’s offices, the Parish Council has used the developer funding to install solar panels on the roof of the Cambourne Hub, library, sports centre, sports pavilion and other community buildings.

Developers, MCA Development Limited, agreed to help establish the Cambourne Parish Energy Fund as an innovative way of meeting the need to reduce the carbon footprint of Cambourne. The development aimed to reduce the carbon footprint of the 950 new homes by 10%, but by setting up the Fund, a larger reduction could be achieved over the longer term.

Cllr Ray Manning, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s leader, said: “In a year not noted for sunshine it’s fantastic news that we’ve reached our year one target ahead of schedule, reducing our carbon footprint and energy bills. In the coming years power prices will only rise so savings are set to accrue year on year – freeing up money to spend on services for our residents.”

Cllr Dominic Plunkett, Cambourne Parish Council Chairman, said: “I’m delighted that this project is already exceeding expectations, helping to make our Cambourne greener now and into the future. The income from these and other panels is helping to grow the Cambourne Parish Energy Fund and will continue to be reinvested for the benefit of all our residents.”