Brighton and Hove councillors to spend £2.6m on solar power scheme

Posted On 13 Jun 2011 at 2:34 am

Dozens of public buildings in Brighton and Hove will have solar panels on the roof under plans approved by the new Green administration.

The cabinet members of Brighton and Hove City Council approved the £2.6 million solar power scheme at a meeting last week.

They aim to repay the borrowing costs of the scheme by earning money from the national grid feed-in tariff.

In a good year, sunny weather could reap revenues of up to £160,000 for the council.

Even a bad year could leave the council £40,000 better off.

The sums include an estimated cut of £23,000 in the council’s electricity bill.

Blatchington Mill School, the Prince Regent swimming pool and the Russell Road car park are among the sites on a first list of 40 properties.

Council houses and blocks of flats could also be used if the scheme is extended.

The council said that it had surveyed its buildings to identify the most suitable sites to become mini solar-powered electricity-generating stations.

Twenty three sites are regarded by the council as potential money-spinners with a further 17 possible locations for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

The Greens are keen to move quickly, aiming for the most cost-effective installations to be in place before April next year when the feed-in tariff rules may become less profitable.

At the moment surplus electricity fed in to the national grid is worth 41p a kilowatt hour.

Councillor Jason Kitcat, the council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “I’m delighted that one of the new administration’s first decisions will be our city’s largest ever roll out of solar panels.

“With this project the council will generate new funds to help offset government cuts to our budget while also reducing our carbon footprint.

“We would encourage everyone in the city to consider whether they too could use renewables to save money and reduce emissions.

“Brighton and Hove can be a hub for green industries and we plan to lead by example.”

The council said that all its solar panels would be flat panels on suitable south-facing roofs, free from the risk of vandalism or overshadowing.

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