Cambourne: Solar Panels Will Save Cash

14 April 2012, 08:00

Solar panels are to be installed on the roof of South Cambridgeshire District Council's headquarters in Cambourne.

The solar panels will remain in place after 25 years, offering the chance for even more "green-power" after the official life-span of the scheme.

Up to £190,000 of developer funding from a new 950 homes development in the village will pay for the installation of panels on the District Council's roof - providing free daytime electricity for the council offices.

It means the council will spent less cash on energy bills.

Surplus electricity generated from the solar panels will be sold back to energy providers and, alongside a Government subsidy, will be paid into a new Cambourne Community Energy Fund which is being set up by the Parish Council to support future green projects in the village.

The Parish Council is also using developer funding from the new homes to install solar panels on the roof of the sports centre, sports pavilion and community centre.

The original plans were put on hold at the end of last year when Government subsidies for solar energy were reduced by over 50%.

The upfront cash for the panels comes from MCA Development Ltd as part of the planning application for the additional 950 homes in Upper Cambourne. 

The developers agreed to contribute to the Cambourne Parish Energy Fund as an innovative way of meeting the need to reduce the carbon footprint of the new homes.

The development aimed to reduce the carbon footprint of homes by 10%, but by setting up the Fund, a larger reduction could be achieved over the longer term.

Richard Hales, South Cambridgeshire District Council's Team Leader for Sustainability, told Heart: "We are really pleased we have been able to work with the Parish Council to find another way to fund and install solar panels on the roof of the Council's offices.

This project will help reduce our carbon footprint considerably, but will also save taxpayers thousands of pounds every year as we would have access to free electricity during the day."

Mr Hales added: "We are very committed to also helping our residents go green, and in recent months we have seen solar panels installed on around 500 council-owned homes and even more parish councils are signing up to our Sustainable Parish Energy Partnership which aims to help communities come together to make building more energy efficient."

John Vickery, Clerk of Cambourne Parish Council, says: "This project is a real win, win, situation for both councils and our residents, and by establishing a Cambourne Parish Energy Fund we are thinking about the long term future of the village. 

Projects such as installing solar panels on the council offices, and other community buildings, will mean we can reinvest the income in even more green projects to help Cambourne become well known as one of the most environmentally friendly communities in the county."