Three thousand council-owned properties in Wrexham are about to be fitted with solar photovoltaics (PVs) in one of the largest projects of its kind in the UK, as the borough aims to halve its carbon emissions.
Wrexham County Borough Council is on a mission to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2016 and the solar project is the latest initiative to meet those targets.
Social housing is one of the largest contributors to Wrexham’s carbon footprint and project leaders are working closely with tenants to explain why PVs are important for the borough and the benefits of the scheme. The scheme is expected to save up to 3,000 tonnes of CO2 each year in Wrexham.
The panels will be retrofitted on existing housing stock this year with the project due for completion in March 2012.
Other public buildings such as schools and community centres will also be fitted with the panels – which convert energy from sunlight into electrical energy. This electrical energy is then used to power electrical appliances such as televisions, fridge freezers and microwaves. Any surplus gets sold to the national grid and the money can then be invested into council services.
Switching to solar power can reduce electricity bills as the energy created from the panels reduces the need for electricity from the national grid making savings of several hundred pounds each year for domestic users.
Wrexham’s Lead Member for Housing and Planning, Cllr Mark Pritchard, said: “This is one of the biggest projects of its kind in the country and is fantastic news for Wrexham. Not only will it help the environment and help the council to reduce its own carbon footprint but it will also help tenants to reduce their energy bills during what are difficult times. I’d like to thank all the officers and Members who have supported this project from the start and made it possible.”
Dr Helen Paterson, Chief Executive of Wrexham County Borough Council, said: “This is a hugely significant project for the Council. Such investment demonstrates our commitment to reduce carbon emissions and energy use, whist also tackling fuel poverty. The added benefit of this project is the income that will be generated by taking advantage of the Government Feed In Tariff.”
Wrexham has awarded the contract of around £18million to social housing regeneration specialist Forrest. The panels will be supplied by local manufacturerl the Sharp Project.
Andrew Lee, International Head of Sales for Sharp Solar, said: “This kind of project represents the spirit of the Feed in Tariff and demonstrates exactly what it was set up to achieve. This project will create employment and help to cut tenants’ fuel bills and put money back in their pocket at a time when it is most needed.”
To view a short film about the project visit http://www.solarpowerwrexham.org/ There are lots of changes you could make to your daily life to save money and energy. Why not try turning down your thermostat? Or switch off appliances rather than leaving them on standby? Or even use the car less? You’ll be amazed to see how much you save.
There are lots more suggestions and energy saving tips on www.peoplepowerwexham.org. Even small actions make a big difference, and if you’re really serious about making the change, why not take an energy busting pledge online too?