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.
CAfS are delighted to be working in partnership with the Bootle 2020 group to host the last of our Cumbria Green Open Homes events on 21st June. A variety of organisations in the Bootle community are coming together to launch Bootle 2020, the Vision for Bootle. This will showcase Bootle as a desirable area to relocate to with a variety of homes, both traditional and contemporary, that are energy efficient, have adopted renewable energy technologies, and so are cheaper to heat and more comfortable to live in.
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.
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.
Solar Schools has announced that it has raised over £100,000 in eight months in order to install solar arrays on 19 schools across the UK. The programme, run by 10:10, encourages schools to use a combination of fundraising techniques to help raise the money required to install solar. 10:10 calculates that a typical PV installation will generate over £30,000 in energy savings and associated feed-in tariff (FiT) payments for a school over the array’s FiT lifespan.
Cumbria County Council has become the latest local authority to upgrade its street lights to energy-efficient LED bulbs, maximising savings. The Council plans to invest £7.6m by installing almost 12,000 LED light bulbs saving around £430,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs. The high-performance bulbs produce more light using less energy – the energy that they do consume is almost completely channelled into the creation of light, rather than losing waste energy in heat form, as many incandescent bulbs do.
The world’s first community-owned tidal power turbine has started producing electricity for the local grid. The turbine will power up to 30 homes, a locally owned ice plant, and Cullivoe Harbour Industrial Estate on Yell, in the Shetland Islands. The turbine is fixed on the seabed at a depth of more than 100ft and is designed to turn as the tide flows past it, driving a generator and producing electricity that is transmitted onshore via a 1km-long subsea table. It has been developed by Leith-based tidal energy company Nova Innovation and is wholly owned by the North Yell Development Council (NYDC), a company limited by guarantee and a charity.