Solar panel installation on roof of New County Hall
Date: 21 May 2010
Cornwall Council New County Hall roof solar panels Cornwall Council is paving the way for a revolution in renewable energy with the installation of banks of solar panels on the roof of New County Hall.
The 130 photo-voltaic panels will convert the above average levels of Cornish light into electricity that will power lights and computers in the Council building.
The panels were unveiled today (Friday) in the blazing sunshine.
Cornwall Council is committed to acting as a world-leader in the green energy revolution and hopes that the successful installation of solar panels will encourage other businesses in Cornwall to invest in renewable energy programmes.
The Council is the first local authority in the South West to invest in solar panels on this scale and the installation at New County Hall is a clear physical demonstration of what can be achieved with renewable energy technology.
Julian German, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Waste Management, Climate Change and Historic Environment, said: "This is a truly groundbreaking project which clearly demonstrates Cornwall Council's commitment to leading the way in tackling climate change.
"The benefits of green energy are huge - it is better for the environment and provides a secure long-term energy source."
The 180W high efficiency solar panels on the large flat roof on the South side of the building have a potential generating capacity of 26kW - enough to power 260 computers. Annually this installation could produce approximately 20,000 kWh - enough to power five large homes.
Using solar powered electricity will mean a reduction in the Council's annual carbon footprint of over 11tonnes (equal to the volume of eight domestic dwellings) and will make significant reductions to the power drawn from the main electricity supply over the 25 year warranted lifespan of the solar panels.
The installation has been carried out by Penzance-based company Plug Into The Sun. The Council's intranet and a display screen in the council offices will show in real time the quantity of electricity being produced, the carbon reduction and the financial saving.
Carolyn Rule, Cornwall Council's cabinet member for the Economy and Regeneration, said: "The Green Cornwall programme is delivering real economic benefits for Cornwall at the same time as helping Cornwall Council achieve its aim of leading the world in tackling climate change.
"We are blessed with higher than average levels of sunshine in Cornwall and this project puts into practice what many people have been talking about for years."
While the solar panels are at peak production in the summer sunshine, they continue to produce energy in cloudy conditions and even in bright moonlight.
Cornwall Council's launch comes in the same week as news broke that private investors are looking at the possibility of installing ten solar parks at locations across Cornwall.
Cornwall Council is also committed to building a solar park and is currently looking at the possibility of siting the park at land next to Newquay Airport.
Steve Cirell, Cornwall Council Director of the Green Cornwall programme, said: "Cornwall's location means that we have a natural advantage when it comes to renewable energy. We have higher than average levels of sunshine together with great opportunities for wind and wave power along with real possibilities for geo-thermal power.
"We are determined to lead the way in solar power and set an example to businesses throughout Cornwall that renewable energy is a sound investment both financially and environmentally."
The cost to Cornwall Council of installing the solar panels was £85,000. The total cost of installation was £171,400.00 and this was offset by a 50% grant from The Low Carbon Building Programme, a Department for Energy and Climate Change scheme.
Andy Tanner, the Managing Director of the main contractor Plug into the Sun, said: "It is very encouraging to see that Cornwall Council are working closely with local companies to provide a committed lead in the theatre of sustainable energy projects."