Incentive for households to reduce their carbon emissions and electricity bills through clean energy
West Berks Climate Action Network (WBCAN) and IDDEA Ltd held their first information evening on 2nd October to introduce its West Berks Solar Streets scheme to residents from Thatcham, Newbury and surrounding villages.
The idea behind the scheme is to incentivise as many households as possible to reduce their carbon emissions and electricity bills through clean energy. Did you know that a typical 14-panel solar installation can save an average household 1.5 tonnes of CO2/year?
The scheme offers large discounts to households installing a 14-panel system, taking the price from £5000 to £3750. These savings are the product of combining surveys, installations and bulk buying the panels. For this reason, it is necessary to have a minimum of 10 homes in any given locality taking up the scheme, for this discount to be realised.
An additional £100 can be saved if you refer a friend to the scheme.
This very same scheme has already seen great success in Frome, where the Town Council introduced it as part of its plan to become carbon neutral by 2025.
So, the £1250 discount aside (more depending on how much interest you can drum up from friends), what were our key takeaways from this West Berks Solar Streets Information Evening?
- While the feed in tariff no longer exists, suppliers with over 150,000 customers are required to offer a Smart Export Guarantee tariff, which sits at around 5p/kWhr, though varies between suppliers.
- It is easy to connect your solar panels up to your water tank so that the energy you generate heats up your water first and foremost.
- You can maximise your use of solar energy by being smart about your appliance usage. Rather than switching the washing machine, the dishwasher and the kettle on at the same time, stagger the times you use them and by doing this, you minimise the amount of energy you need to purchase from the grid. Timers can help you plan this effectively.
- And then there’s the smart battery storage systems….these will help you make the most of the electricity you generate, reducing your costs even further. These systems learn your usage habits and act accordingly, ensuring the electricity you’ve generated is available to you when you’re most likely to need it and exporting excess solar power to the grid at your low usage times of the day.
- Another bonus is that at times of grid surplus (this does happen), energy suppliers will dump their excess onto the batteries of homeowners rather than paying for someone to take it off their hands….this is definitely one to ask IDDEA more about as I’m not sure I can do the explanation justice! All I’m saying is, more free electricity!
Why not join us at one of our upcoming information evenings to find out more about solar panels, batteries and the West Berks Solar Streets Scheme itself? Join us Tuesday 8 & 15 October, 7.30pm at St Johns’s Church in Newbury.
Here’s what one attendee had to say about our first information evening last week:
“It was a great presentation last night – not just because the offering looks really competitive but also because there was good honest advice, no hard-selling, and clear answers to the various questions from the audience.” David Lister.
WBCAN has also compiled a list of FAQ’s from this first Information Evening which can be found pinned to the top of their Facebook page: @WestBerksCAN
And, if you don’t need to hear anymore, you can email IDDEA to request a free survey. Surveys will be scheduled for end of October and installations dates will be confirmed once there is sufficient take-up. This could be as early as the end of November!