Solar power brings near-£100,000 boost to borough

Nick Quinton, councillors David Ellesmere and John Mowles,with Sam Phyall and Rob Santler of contrac

Nick Quinton, councillors David Ellesmere and John Mowles,with Sam Phyall and Rob Santler of contractors Ecosphere Renewables on the roof of Dundee House - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council is getting a near-£100,00 windfall after installing solar panels on the roofs of its larger buildings across the town.

The installation programme in Ipswich will save £45,000 in energy bills and earn the council a further £50,000 in income.

The council has completed two roof top solar photovoltaic (PV) installation programmes to date – the current one includes 11 sheltered schemes and Fore Street pool.

Solar PV generates electricity that can be used on site – but any that isn’t used on site is exported to the national grid.

Through the government’s Feed-In Tariff programme the council gets paid for generating electricity and also for anything that is sent to the grid, as well as saving money from electricity used on site.

The generating capacity of all of the installations is 0.5 Mw (megawatts) – which is enough to power Gainsborough Sports Centre and the Regent Theatre all year.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said there were two strong benefits from the programme: “For a start we are helping to protect the planet by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that have to be used to create electricity.

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“And then there is the money that is saved by generating our own power – and that we get from the Feed-In Tariff that gives us a substantial boost.

“We certainly get more than we would from just leaving money in the bank paying interest or investing in shares.”

Mr Ellesmere said at present only the council’s main buildings were having solar panels fitted – but it was now having another look at installing them on the roofs of council houses.

This would enable tenants to benefit from free electricity – and the council would take extra power to help bring in extra income.

Nick Quinton of J P Chick & Partners Ltd, contract administrators for this solar PV installation project, said: “Having previously undertaken renewable energy projects in other parts of the country, it has been particularly rewarding to assist Ipswich Borough Council on this scheme.”

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