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Cornwall Council to earn 1000s from renewable energy law change

Date: 9 Jul 2010

Cornwall Council To Earn Thousands as Government Overturns Renewable Energy Laws 

A revolutionary "Plug Into The Sun" solar PV installation for Cornwall Council already powers computers and lights at New County Hall. Now as plans go ahead for a network of council funded solar farms, the Duchy's local Authority is told, "plugging into the sun will mean plugging into extra cash too."

As the first local authority in the country to invest in solar energy on a massive scale, Cornwall Council is set to benefit from the latest government announcement to overturn a ban on local authority's selling green electricity. In particular the Council's proposal to build a £15 million solar park, covering 20-40 acres on dis-used land near RAF ST Mawgan will benefit from Chris Huhne's plans.

In a speech on 7th July to the Local Government Association Mr Huhne says:

It's ridiculous [to] prevent councils from selling electricity...I want to see this repealed by the end of the year. I hope local authorities will be able to sell electricity from renewables - generating revenue to help local services and keep council tax down. Local communities can truly benefit from the low-carbon transition.

This means Cornwall Council could earn thousands if it sells green electricity to the National Grid as part of the Government's "Feed-In Tariff." At the moment, the scheme offers homes or businesses up to 41.3 pence per unit of solar-generated electricity. This allows them to make a 12% rate of return on their investment, over the 25 year period of the scheme. This is tax-free and goes up at the same rate as inflation. So spend £10,000 and earn £1,200 a year, for 25 years. Industry experts say the return on investment makes solar energy more efficient than investing money in a bank.

Andrew Tanner, Managing Director of Plug Into The Sun says,

This is fantastic news for Cornwall. It will enable Cornwall Council to take the lead on implementing a solution to climate change, whilst making money. Plug Into The Sun have recently installed 24kWp on New County Hall's roof. This new ruling will enable Cornwall to benefit even further from solar power and investing in renewables.

Plug Into The Sun has been lobbying for a change in this law for a long time as well as pressurising the government to take more seriously the climate change issues individuals and communities are concerned about. We're delighted that we've been able to make a difference at Westminster.