Kier has completed a £520,000 contract with Mid Devon District
Council to install photovoltaic solar panels at four council properties in a bid
to reduce the council’s carbon footprint, generate electricity and save money.
As part of the contract, solar panels have been installed on the roofs of the
council’s main offices at Phoenix House in Tiverton and at the Exe Valley, Culm
Valley and Lords Meadow leisure centres.
The solar systems are expected to cut carbon emissions by about 170 tonnes a
year and will reduce the council’s annual electricity bills by around £60,000.
In total, the panels are expected to generate around 300Kw per year, roughly
equivalent to the energy needed to power 100 family homes.
In 2011 Kier completed a significant energy solutions contract for community-led charity Transition Town Totnes. This involved installing photovoltaic panels to 135 properties.
The installation work was completed in less than six weeks and all the
buildings were able to remain open, minimising disruption to services. The solar
systems are ideally suited to leisure centres, which have relatively high power
usage during daylight hours compared to residential properties, where energy
usage is greatest during the evening. The Exe Valley leisure centre is the
largest photovoltaic installation ever completed by Kier and will produce 140Kw
Nigel Brunton-Reed, operations director for Kier, said: “We are pleased to be
able to help Mid Devon District Council reduce their environmental impact by
embracing the benefits of solar power. At a time of record fuel prices and
uncertainty over the future of government subsidies for renewable energy, many
organisations are choosing to take advantage of the long-term savings delivered
by subsidised energy production. As a result, we have seen record levels of
interest in solar energy from businesses seeking to qualify for the government
Work on the Mid Devon contract was timed to be complete ahead of the
government’s planned reduction in feed in tariffs in June 2012.
Currently for every kilowatt of energy produced by the photovoltaic systems,
the government pays the owner up to 21p. However, the level of subsidy will fall
in June, which has prompted a rush in demand for solar power as customers seek
to capitalise on the potential savings.
Commenting on the installation, Cllr Ray Radford, cabinet member for the
environment, said: “This is a perfect opportunity for the council to make
electricity cost savings and installing solar panels on our buildings is one of
a number of energy-efficient initiatives the council has introduced to both save
money and reduce carbon emissions.”
Kier has completed a number of other solar panel installation projects across
Devon, having previously installed panels at other council buildings including
schools and libraries. In 2011 Kier completed a significant energy solutions
contract for community-led charity Transition Town Totnes. This involved
installing photovoltaic panels to 135 properties.