Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels use energy from the sun to generate electricity. This electricity can then either be used in your home at the time of generation, diverted to a heat source, or stored in batteries (talk to us about diverters and battery storage). Houses with roofs facing between south-east and south-west make the most efficient use of this technology.
Electricity generated in this way qualifies for the Feed in Tariff (FiT), which is a tariff set by the government and paid by the energy companies for every unit of clean, renewable energy generated. Tariffs are currently set at 14.38p/kWh (from April 1st 2014) for most domestic installations (up to 4kW). Tariffs are reviewed every 3 months, but once you are on a tariff, you will stay on that for the next 20 years.
To qualify for the FiT your property will have to be assessed for its Energy Performance, and a certificate showing that it is at EPC level D (after PV installation) or above will be required. Broadly speaking, if your house has insulated cavity walls, then it will either already be at this level, or will be easy to get to this level. If you have a solid stone house, then it is likely that some upgrades will be required.
Solar PV was the main focus for WREN’s initial roll out of renewable technologies – the over generous FiT and the rapidly reducing prices made this of interest to many who had not really thought about energy and renewables before. To the end of November 2013, domestic systems installed directly through WREN total 575kWp, including 63kW of ‘free’ installations. This is enough to generate around 590MWh/yr of electricity and save about 320 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. In addition The Olde House in Chapel Amble is a member of WREN with a 242kW array.
Cornwall Council has been supporting WREN’s programme with installs on social housing and also 50kWp on the Sports Centre and 15kWp on the library, some 200kWp in the WREN area.
Many other installations have appeared, many prompted by WREN’s promotion activities, with a total of some 1000kWp in this category.
So, that totals to just over 2MWp.
We also have 3 solar parks in the WREN area, with capacities of 2MW, 3.7MW and 5MW. Two of these have no direct links to WREN, but WREN administers a communitry fund of £10,000 per year for the 5MW Treworeder development. This brings the likely total in the area to around 12.7MW. This will generate in a year the equivalent of electricity use of around 2450 homes (or around two-thirds of Wadebridge).
Click here to find out about WREN's fantastic solar PV offers.
Vote for locally owned energy
The Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) has applied for two grants from Energyfund Cornwall to make a significant step forward for locally-owned community energy. However, to have a chance of winning them it needs to demonstrate support through on-line voting by its supporters for both projects.
The 5 Wren note made its debut at Wadebridge Museum on 30th July.
The Wren is Wadebridge’s local currency, the only one in Cornwall.Read more...
A £10,000 fund is available for community projects to benefit people living in Wadebridge, St Kew, St Mabyn and Egloshayle.
The money comes from the Middle Treworder Solar Farm under a “Section 106” agreement made when it was given permission to go ahead, and is available as grants to voluntary and not-for-profit organisations and community groups in the area around the solar farm.Read more...