Hampshire Council Investing In Solar Energy

Hampshire County Council is looking to invest almost £16 million in a solar energy project which would see the council fit solar panels on to 200 of its buildings.

In an effort to reduce rising energy costs and to help lower their carbon footprint, the county council is looking into fitting around 200 of its buildings, excluding schools, with photovoltaic panels. County chiefs say the project could pay for itself within 15 years, through smaller energy bills and income from generating electricity under the Government’s feed-in-tariff (Fit) scheme.

Under the scheme, solar panels installed before March 2012 will have their feed-in-tariff payments guaranteed for 25 years. But with an energy review on the horizon, it’s highly likely that connections to the grid after March 2013 will attract a lower rate and therefore generate less cash for the council.

So far, the technology is currently used in around a dozen or so of the council’s buildings, and officers have identified an additional 31,000 square metres of roof space across the county which is suitable for the solar PV panels. The council plans to install a quarter of the panels by March 2012 to cash in on the feed-in-tariff scheme.

According to Hampshire County Council, using solar power on a larger scale could help it to save £10 million on its bills, which it estimates will have doubled by 2020, rising from £4m to £8m within the next 10 years.

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