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Community reaps renewable energy rewards thanks to energy gift
Cranbrook’s Younghayes Centre will soon be generating its own electricity and creating a pot of money to help the growing community after E.ON paid for solar PV panels to be installed.
Voluntary group Community Helpers in Cranbrook (CHIC) approached energy company E.ON and East Devon District Council and proposed utilising the roof space on the Younghayes centre to generate renewable energy and both organisations were keen to help make the idea a reality.
E.ON, the energy supplier behind Cranbrook and SkyPark’s low carbon district heating system, arranged for Exeter’s award-winning SunGift Energy, which has installed solar panels on the Met Office and for Exeter City Council among many other commercial and domestic customers, to install 36 solar PV panels on the roof of the community centre. The building’s current landlords, East Devon District Council agreed to pay the Feed-in Tariff – the Government’s financial incentive scheme for renewable energy generation – directly to the newly formed Cranbrook Town Council.
SunGift Energy installed the solar PV panels in time for the town’s annual ‘Cranbrook Day’, which was held on Sunday 28 June. The Feed-in Tariff money received back by the Town Council will be put into a pot for the community to apply for. It is estimated that an annual fund will be around £1,100.
As part of the installation there will also be an internal display panel, which has been donated by SunGift, so residents can see live information on how much energy is being produced, how much has been produced to date and how many tonnes of CO2 savings have been made.
CHIC’s Karen Jennings said: "We would like to thank E.ON and East Devon District Council for making this possible and being so open to our approach. Utilising the energy of the sun to reduce the running costs of the Younghayes Centre whilst creating a fund for the community to access is a great result for Cranbrook not only now but also for many years into the future."
Jeremy Bungey, Head of Community Energy at E.ON, said: "The Cranbrook and Skypark developments have sustainable energy built into their foundations and I’m delighted that we were able to make this installation happen at the Younghayes Centre. It is great to see the community coming up with innovative approaches to further future-proof their energy supply and in this case also create an additional way in which the whole community can benefit."
Gareth Walton, Business Development Manager at SunGift Energy added: "We are delighted to have been chosen by E.ON to install solar PV panels at the Younghayes Centre. The solar PV system will provide savings on the Centre’s electricity bills, give the community a source of income from the Feed-in Tariff and reduce CO2 emissions so installing it has a lot of benefits."
Cllr Andrew Moulding, Deputy Leader of East Devon District Council said: "This installation is yet another milestone in East Devon’s new community. Cranbrook has a pioneer spirit and we were very happy to pass on the Feed-in Tariff to the newly elected town council for the benefit of residents and at the same time reduced the electricity bill of the Younghayes Centre."
The 9.9kW solar PV system comprises of thirty-six high efficiency 275 Watt JA Solar monocrystalline PV panels. These panels were chosen to make the most of the limited roof space on the Younghayes Centre compared to using standard lower efficiency 250 Watt panels which are the same physical size but produce less electricity per panel.
As the roof is subject to some shading which would have reduced the output of the PV system using a standard inverter, SunGift specified class leading Solar Edge power optimiser technology which minimises the impact of any shading on the panels therefore ensuring that the output of the system, and therefore the income from the Feed-in Tariff and the electricity bill saving, is maximised.
The PV system is projected to generate over a third of the Younghayes Centre’s current annual electricity usage, delivering electricity bill savings of nearly £650 a year on top of the Feed-in Tariff income and saving over five tonnes of CO2 a year.
Issued by E.ON 30 June 2015