Dealership goes green with solar panels initiative

The solar panels on the roof of Barnards Volkswagen at Stowmarket.

The solar panels on the roof of Barnards Volkswagen at Stowmarket. - Credit: supplied

Barnards Volkswagen has become the first car retailer in Suffolk to generate its own electricity.

The ‘clean’ energy is provided by the 166 new state-of-the-art solar panels which have recently been fitted on the roof of the Volkswagen showroom in Station Road East, Stowmarket.

The solar panels are expected to provide a sustainable source of energy, providing 40 kilowatts per hour and 30,000 kilowatts per year, which translates into a saving of up to £3,000 per year.

Any surplus energy produced is expected to generate an additional income of up to £5,000 from the government’s feed-in tariff, introduced in 2010 as an incentive to encourage the use of renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines.

Barnards teamed up with local business and solar panel experts Potkins Mead to provide and fit the solar panels in a bid to reduce the retailer’s carbon footprint.

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Gary Halestrap, brand manager at Barnards Volkswagen, said: “In an era when the cars we sell are becoming more and more environmentally-friendly, it made perfect sense to us to make our showroom more efficient.

“The installation of our solar panels highlights our commitment to becoming a greener and more environmentally responsible business.

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“We’re hoping other businesses will follow our lead and take that step towards making Suffolk a greener county.”

Steve Potkins, director at renewable energy specialist Potkins Mead, said: “These days we are using energy in ever-increasing quantities. Solar panels are simply the best method of reusing this energy while also making savings.

“Once installed, the panels take care of themselves; owners do not have to do anything to operate them and, with no moving parts, they require very little maintenance.”

Mr Potkins added: “We are delighted to have been associated with Barnards on this project. They have been a pleasure to work with and we would like to congratulate them on their move to a greener future.”

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