The first solar park in West Cumbria – consisting of over 30,000 panels – could be built near Egremont. If plans go ahead, the area could see approximately 30,720 panels on the 24.16 hectare site which lies upon agricultural land to the east of Bigrigg. Castillium – a national company which deals with renewable energy in both wind and solar – is heading the project.
West Solent Solar Cooperative has partnered with Solarcentury to build a 2.4MW solar farm in Hampshire. The solar farm will be situated on brownfield land – on the site of a former gravel pit. It is expected that the solar farm will generate enough electricity to power 600 local homes. Around 500 people across the local area and other parts of the UK came together to the fund the project which ended up becoming oversubscribed.
Freeman’s Reach set to become the UK’s first city centre development incorporating a hydro power generator, following the installation of an innovative new water turbine. A key aspect of the hydro power turbine installation at Freeman’s Reach in Durham City is the ‘Archimedean screw,’ which will harvest energy from the River Wear to drive a 100kw generator that is capable of supplying 75 per cent of the total energy requirement of the development.
On the roofs of houses in the village of Penshaw near Sunderland, what look like dark glass windows shimmer against the skyline. They are PV solar panels. Kevin Garrett, who has lived in social housing in the area for the past four years, had them installed on his property in 2012. He also had solid wall insulation put in, and in just two years his energy bill has been slashed by more than half. During the day, his family benefit from free power. More than 27,000 panels have been fitted onto 2,000 homes in Sunderland owned by the social housing provider Gentoo Group. A new £10.1m deal has been struck with a pension investor allowing up to 3,000 more homes to benefit. A social enterprise, Empower Community, helped to secure the investment. Managing partner Alex Grayson says the investment will be paid back over the next two decades with money made from selling energy back to the grid through the government’s feed-in tariff scheme. Any profit is then split between Gentoo and the community, and used to fund projects such as running a eco-friendly village hall or operating a local food co-operative.
The three-turbine Loch Carnan Community Wind farm, on the island of South Uist, which began generating in March 2013, has earned over £2m gross income to the end of April 2014. Congratulations to Stras Uibhist, the community-led body which since the buyout in 2007 owns and manages 93,000 acres of land covering almost the whole of the islands of Benbecula, Eriskay and South Uist, as well as a number of other small islands. Community buyouts all look to establish a reliable income stream to finance their stewardship of local land. Gigha, for example, has had three turbines which have done that for years…the Three Dancing Ladies, Faith, Hope and Charity which were joined in December by a fourth christened Harmony. Stras Uibhist now has its reliable wage earner in Loch Carnan. During the last 12 months Loch Carnan generated slightly more than expected from the financial projections.
Schools in Cumbria will have the chance to win a free solar power system this weekend at the launch event of a new renewable energy firm. Brightside Renewables, set up by James Teasdale and Gary Hughes, has offered to provide and fit a new photovoltaic system providing up to four kilowatts per hour to celebrate the company’s launch. The solar PV system will save the winning education centre an estimated £500 to £800 per year. As well as providing clean energy the system, any excess electricity produced will earn the school money as it is fed into the national grid.
The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) has partnered with renewable energy installer, Ecolution, to install solar PV arrays at Solihull Hospital and Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham. Both hospitals are benefiting from the electricity generated from their two 250kWp roof-mounted arrays. HEFT identified solar as a means of saving energy, cutting costs and reducing the hospitals’ carbon footprints. Initially, HEFT requested over 250kWp for each of the hospitals roof but due to the nature of the feed-in tariff degression bands this would have resulted in a drop in FiT levels of 35% so HEFT elected to cap the installs at 250kWp.
The Four Winds Energy Co-op in Derbyshire and Yorkshire has officially opened its share offer. Ordinary investors and residents in Derbyshire and Yorkshire have the opportunity to get involved in the latest wind turbine project. The proposed project plans to develop a 500KW wind turbine at Duckmanton near Chesterfield and a second 500KW wind turbine between Grimethorpe and Cudworth, near Barnsley. In addition planning applications have been submitted for sites at Riccall, near Selby and Yorkshire Main, near Doncaster. The plan is to build the first turbine at Duckmanton during 2014 to capture the 2013/14 Feed in Tariff. The second turbine, Shafton is planned to be operational during 2015. The Co-op is working with Energy4All. The share offer needs to raise £3.7m by the end of July. Investment is expected to come from a mix of local residents, individuals committed to the development of renewable energy, and the growing enthusiastic member base that follows all Energy4All’s projects around the UK.
Cumbria is set to be home to Europe’s first solar powered railway next year. A £5.5m scheme to extend and upgrade the Alston-based South Tynedale Railway is set to go ahead, including two major environmental projects. The upgrade won’t just benefit tourists but also run electric trains, powered by the sun, for everyday, all-year-round commuters. The volunteer-run railway will be extended to Slaggyford, just north of Alston, by 2016. It is hoped that by 2025 trains will run to larger towns such as Haltwhistle, encouraging commuters to leave the car behind. Steam trains will be adapted to be powered by processed wood waste.
ONE thousand solar panels have been placed atop a city centre car park as the Plymouth City Council embraces World Environment Day. The Western Approach car park installation is the largest by the council so far and is expected to earn back its £295,000 cost through its lifetime of savings on energy spending. The council plans to go a step further by fitting LED lights and hopes to slash electricity use by up to 70 per cent putting Western Approach in the running to become one of the greenest car parks nationwide.