Edinburgh Council will fit 25 council-owned buildings with solar arrays in what is claimed to be the largest community-owned urban renewable energy project in the UK.
The group estimates that the potential solar arrays will help slash the capital’s carbon emissions by around 855 tonnes a year. The electricity generated by the solar panels will be supplied to the host buildings under a reduced cost PPA. Any surplus energy will be exported to the National Grid with profits made from feed-in tariff revenue reinvested into a community benefit fund.
Vice convener of transport and environment, councillor Adam McVey, said: “This is fantastic news for Edinburgh and will bring long-term environmental, social and economic benefits. Community energy co-operatives allow local people to play a part in building a greener, more sustainable environment whilst raising awareness more generally about the importance of being energy efficient.
“We are aiming to meet our target of reducing Edinburgh’s carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 and this project is an important step towards us achieving this.”
Shares in the community fund will be offered to any organisations or individuals interested in investing the initiative but priority will be given to Edinburgh residents. Investors will receive annual interest that is capped at 5% and increases with RPI.
Lang Banks, WWF Scotland’s director welcomed Edinburgh’s solar move, stating: “Using council property to install solar panels on is a smart move that over their lifetime will help the capital to avoid thousands of tonnes of climate change emissions. In addition to improving the energy efficiency of buildings, we’d very much encourage all local authorities to look into the possibility of using their land and buildings to generate clean energy.
“Solar power is growing in popularity in Scotland, especially in urban areas where alternatives such as wind turbines might not be possible. For the one thousand Edinburgh households that have already installed solar panels, during April there was enough sun to effectively meet all of their electricity or hot water needs, helping to reduce their reliance on polluting fossil fuels. With these sorts of figures, every home, business or council with a south-facing roof should seriously consider switching on to the full potential of solar power.”
Edinburgh Council also notes that the proposed solar panels will be used as a resource for educational projects with each PV array connected to monitoring devices which will be displayed publicly in the building.
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This article has been adapted from an Article published by Solar Power Portal.