Electric boost for Exeter City Council’s solar panels
Solar panels installed on the roof of Exeter City Council buildings have generated far more electricity than expected. Collectively, the panels installed in March have benefitted from the long, hot summer, generating more than the predicted output for the whole year in the first eight months.
The panels, which are fitted at the council’s Civic Centre, as well as at its Oakwood House offices, the Materials Reclamation Facility and the ARK, the Museum’s storage facility, cut energy costs as well as significantly reducing the Council’s carbon emissions.
Already the authority has saved some 53 tonnes of carbon, that’s the same amount of carbon as that produced by 16 family homes. Over the 25 year life of this investment, the solar panels will bring long-term savings to the Council, clearly demonstrating the value of renewable energy.
The solar panels are just one of a raft of green initiatives that are bringing savings to the city council and reducing its carbon footprint.
Cllr Keith Owen, Lead Councillor for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said: “In these challenging financial times, the City Council has to look at ways of making savings as well as being environmentally responsible. All these initiatives do just that.”
Some of the other environmental achievements and initiatives include:
- A reduction of CO2 emissions from City Council vehicles
- The fitting of high efficiency gas boilers in 90.6% of Council houses in Exeter (some properties do not have a gas supply)
- Solar panels fitted to council houses on a rent-a-roof basis bring in a yearly income of £19,837
- All new council homes built in Exeter meet energy efficiency standards. Twenty-one of these new homes are built to Passivhaus standards, reducing fuel bills and tackling fuel poverty amongst tenants
- As part of the Exeter and East Devon Low Carbon Task Force, the City Council has been involved in delivering a District Heating network at nearby Cranbrook, serving 7,500 new homes and the Skypark development.
- A successful bid to the government for vital funds to install electric vehicle charge points in the city
- Updating of a new walking map and developing a new walking strategy and shared paths in Wonford and Pinhoe
- The inclusion in major housing developments of parking spaces for vehicles belonging to car clubs
- A reduction in fuel used by refuse vehicles due to new intelligent in-cab technology and electric bin lifts which use 12% less fuel than the traditional hydraulic methods. Drivers also undertake eco-driving courses to reduce fuel costs
- The installation of solar panels on the mower shed at Belle Isle, with surplus electricity feeding into the grid.
- Low water use shower heads now being installed in changing rooms
- A reduction in water usage from £210,000 in 2011/12 to £140,000 in 2012/13
- Introduction of waterless urinals at Paris Street toilets
(from a press release)