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Babergh: Cash for solar panels in Babergh council budget

11:32 11 March 2014

Babergh councillor Frank Lawrenson

Babergh councillor Frank Lawrenson

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People in fuel poverty could be helped in the future by a pioneering green energy scheme.

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Babergh District Council want to install solar panels on all council owned properties and recently included spending for this in its budget.

And councillor Frank Lawrenson said if it proved successful he wants it expanded to help anyone struggling to heat their home.

The scheme would see panels installed on more then 2,000 buildings which would both heat them and earn money for the council.

As one of the councillors involved in planning the scheme Mr Lawrenson said he was pleased it had reached the stage where money had been set aside for it.

“I can’t begin to describe how happy I am about it,” Mr Lawrenson said.

“When you become a councillor you hope you can have some sort of meaningful and lasting impact on your community.

“To my mind to be able to propose this and put it forward and it to be happening in my first term, it’s amazing. I don’t think that’s ever something I was really expecting.

“If this works I would then like to see it rolled out to more people in fuel poverty.”

Mr Lawrenson added the council would also get a boost from the panels’ installation.

“Because it’s a profitable exercise it will contribute a significant proportion of funding to the council,” he said.

“We could be talking about contributing 10% to the (council’s) budget. It feels like a win, win, win situation. Nobody’s been able to find any downsides because no one could find any reason to object to it. It’ll be wonderful.”

Along with the benefits to both the council and its tenants Mr Lawrenson says he is excited by the prospect of Babergh leading the way and other organisations following suit.

“To instigate a project of this size, others will be watching it,” he said.

“I would like to think this could happen all over the country.”

There is also the chance the installation of such a large number of solar panels could help Babergh become a carbon-neutral council, something Mr Lawrenson said would be “extraordinary”.

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3 comments

  • Mr Whalley - although solar pv is subsidised it only amounts to 0.15% on the average bill. I'd suggest that's an insignificant subsidy rather than a heavy one. I think the Councils idea of putting the on council properties is a great way of trying to ensure more fuel poor households benefit and are protected from future rises. Can't quite see how they could generate the income that they are suggesting but I think they should be congratulated rather than criticised!

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    M H

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • " It feels like a win, win, win situation. Nobody’s been able to find any downsides because no one could find any reason to object to it. It’ll be wonderful.” Except that solar panels are heavily subsidised, with the subsidy paid for on other people's electricity bills who do not have solar installations. It is mostly the lower income groups who lose out in this way. Thus, Babergh council have instituted a 'wonderful' scheme to take money from poorer billpayers and use it to subsidise the better off. Solar panels only contribute on average 16% of their peak capacity to the grid. So even here we lose out again by trying to rely on expensive low productivity systems, rather than cheap conventional sources. Not win-win, councillor Lawrenson, but lose-lose.

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    Steven Whalley

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • So what Mr Lawrenson is apparently proposing is a system to heat our homes when the sun is shining, which it does anyway. Then when we need the heat in the evenings, there is no solar power. Also, in winter when we need the heat the most, the days are short and the evenings long, with minimal solar power contribution. Essentially this is an expensive system for giving us heat when we do not want it, and not giving us power when we do. How does this help anybody?

    Report this comment

    Steven Whalley

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

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