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Chy Nampara installation, Falmouth

Date: 24 Oct 2008

Falmouth's older residents ‘Plug Into The Sun'

Distribution: Falmouth Packet / possibly other Cornish media

Residents of the Carrick Housing run Chy Nampara sheltered housing scheme will be warming up with solar energy this winter thanks to an installation of Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The project was managed and installed by Land's End based solar energy experts Plug into the Sun and will provide electricity for power, lighting and alarm systems in communal areas and on site facilities like the laundry room, residents kitchen and lounge.

The solar power installation will lead to significant reductions on mains electricity use and the sites carbon footprint.

Andy Tanner, managing director of Plug into the Sun said: "We are delighted with this scheme, which is substantial and can generate up to an incredible 24 kilowatts of energy per hour.

"If you imagine that with only one kilowatt of energy per hour you can make 70 cups of tea, wash a full load of laundry in a washing machine or iron 15 shirts, you see what a huge difference solar energy will make to the residents of Chy Nampara."

The whole solar energy scheme cost £119,000 but was 50% funded through phase two of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, which is part of the UK Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF), a joint BERR/Defra initiative to encourage the use of low carbon energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Simon Waters, property services manager for Carrick Housing Ltd, said: "Our main objective with this project is to help reduce the carbon footprint of our housing stock but we also hope to bring down our overall energy costs, which are currently around £35,000 to £40,000 a year and rising.

"We have been delighted with Plug into the Sun's quick response and technical know-how, enabling us to get this project started and finished on time."

Chy Nampara scheme manager Claire Ferris said: "We have been explaining the benefits of the project to the residents who all seem to love the idea. It's important that we try to make use of the communal areas as much as possible to benefit from the solar energy as residents pay for electricity in their own rooms.

Grants from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme are available for 50% of the costs of installing solar energy and in many cases match funding is available, which make schemes virtually free.

Andy Tanner said: "If you are a school, hospital, community group or sports club for example, almost 100% funding is available for solar energy, which can supply electricity for years to come. You may even be able to sell power back to the national grid through a ‘buy back' programme, generating extra income for your organisation.

"Yet these grants aren't around forever and already this year they have been allocated by 2/3rds that means there is only 1/3rd left, so people need to start applying now."