Winchester MP Steve Brine has welcomed Eastleigh Borough Council's new Solar Energy Scheme at Fleming Park Leisure Centre, which has been opened by Cabinet Minister for Energy & Climate Change, Chris Huhne MP.
The Council has installed 288 Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roof of the leisure centre to generate electricity and reduce carbon emissions. PV solar power is amongst the fastest growing renewable energy source in the UK, thanks in part to Government subsidies or Feed in Tariff (FITs) that are currently available.
The Council is taking advantage of this Government backed FIT scheme which was introduced in April 2010. The scheme is set to pay tariff payments for 25 years following installation. A key benefit of the scheme will be the generation of new income from both the Feed in Tariff and through the sale of any surplus electricity back to the national grid providing the Council with an annual income.
The 288 solar panels were installed on the leisure centre roof at a cost of around £185,000 and they are set generate over 62,000 kWh per year that equates to around £23,000 - £25,000 of income to the Council per year. The average home uses around 3,300 kWh's per year so the scheme is expected to generate enough to power around 18 homes for a year. By producing energy in this renewable form the scheme will avoid producing around 34,000 kg of CO2 per year which is equivalent to an average car travelling over around 102,000 miles.
Mr Huhne said: "The Government is committed to producing solar energy. This is a good example of a scheme that will generate electricity from a renewable source that is great for the environment, the borough and the country. It will also provide the Council with a significant income stream and help reduce their CO2 emissions."
Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine added: "I am delighted to hear this news and I know that many of my constituents who live in Chandler's Ford will join me in welcoming this development."
Residents can also benefit from the Feed in Tariff – currently paying around 43p per kWh that the panels generate - for a guaranteed 25 years from installation. This means that for an array of panels rated at 2.5 kWh, an income and savings of up to about £1000 per year could be expected. Further information can be obtained via the Eastleigh website under Home Energy Savings http://www.eastleigh.gov.uk/housing/home-energy-saving or the Energy Saving Trust website www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
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