Plans for a community-owned solar energy plant to be discussed

Plans for a community-owned solar energy plant to be discussed

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Image credit: Buildingresults
Image credit: Buildingresults

Plans for Exeter’s community-owned solar energy project will be discussed in the next month.

Proposals for the establishment of Solar PV 1, Exeter Community Energy’s first community-owned project, are high on the agenda as a topic to be discussed at next month’s ECoE public meeting.

The event, which is to be held at 6.45pm on Tuesday 4th February in Stephen Scown Solicitor’s meeting room at Curzon House, Southernhay, constitutes the starting blocks for the installation and commission of approximately 100Wp of solar panels in the summer of 2014. By that time, the panels will be all set to produce green energy for the community for at least the next twenty years.

The purpose of the meeting is to solicit the launch of a community share offer in April, which will be the method used to raise funds for the cost of the panels – estimated to be £150,000.

Those who invest in the project will be entitled to benefit from its returns, which are to come from the sale of electricity to the owners or users of buildings and from the 2010 Government feed-in-tariff scheme, which includes the sale of electricity to the national grid.

Members of the community, organisations and businesses alike are expected to attend the meeting, according to project Co-ordinator Gill Wyatt, who told the Express & Echo: “Our aim is to bring together people who are interested in building a sustainable future for our community, who care about climate change and the depletion of resources and who want to reduce fuel bills, promote energy efficiency and address fuel poverty.

“We can work together to learn and change the way we produce, use and think about energy, and in doing so create a more sustainable, resilient and prosperous community.”

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, who is strongly behind the initiative, added: “I’m delighted to be a part of this exciting project. Community energy gives people the opportunity to take ownership of renewable power and use it to make positive change in their communities. It’s exactly what we need in Exeter.”

Presently, ECoE is in search of suitable roofs on which the panels may be situated. They have specified that the roofs must face either south, southeast or southwest and a pitched roof is preferable to a flat alternative. Amoung others, ECoE suggests that schools, hospitals, churches and local businesses should consider leasing their roofs for the project. The profit generated by Solar PV 1 will be set aside in the form of a community fund in order to help finance future community energy projects, involving renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Annabel Charlotte Tuvey, News Team

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