£50,000 worth of solar panels to be installed on borough council buildings (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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£50,000 worth of solar panels to be installed on borough council buildings
A TEST project to install thousands of pounds worth of solar panels on borough council-owned buildings has been given the green light.
It took less than a minute for the 60-strong full council to approve shelling out £50,000 of taxpayers’ money to put electricity-generating solar panels on three council-owned buildings.
The move has been welcomed by green campaigners, who said the project could not come soon enough.
The decision comes a month after Basingstoke College of Technology announced a £100,000 scheme to install 400 solar panels on the college’s engineering block.
The council will put the photovoltaic panels at Whiteditch Depot, in Sherborne Road, Maidenwell Pavilion and the Down Grange Barns, both at the Down Grange sports complex. The pilot will be funded from cash in the council’s climate change reserve.
Martin Heath, from the Basing-stoke Transition Network, which first pitched the idea to the council in January 2012, welcomed the move.
“It’s very good that the council are finally doing something,” he said. “Hopefully, this is the start of something big for Basingstoke council.”
Councillor Robert Donnell, the borough council’s Cabinet environment chief, said the move is a “sensible” policy.
“This is a great example of the sort of things we want to do,” he said. “We don’t want to do green initiatives that are not economic or sensible.
“Energy is getting more and more expensive so we need to put in long-term solutions and reduce the amount of energy we have to buy in.”
It is estimated that the panels will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide pollution by 9.4 tons each year. Mr Heath said Government Feed-in-Tariffs – payments made for renewable energy schemes – mean the investment is good value for money.
Borough officers expect that money made from FiTs, as well as cash made from selling unused electricity to the National Grid, will pay back the £50,000 within nine years.
Annual returns are also forecast at eight per cent – higher than the current rate of inflation – which will add cash to council coffers.