Kier Helps Mid Devon District Council Go Green

Kier has completed a £520,000 contract with Mid Devon District Council to install photovoltaic solar panels at four council properties in a bid to reduce the council’s carbon footprint, generate electricity and save money.

As part of the contract, solar panels have been installed on the roofs of the council’s main offices at Phoenix House in Tiverton and at the Exe Valley, Culm Valley and Lords Meadow leisure centres.

The solar systems are expected to cut carbon emissions by about 170 tonnes a year and will reduce the council’s annual electricity bills by around £60,000.

In total, the panels are expected to generate around 300Kw per year, roughly equivalent to the energy needed to power 100 family homes. The installation work was completed in less than six weeks and all the buildings were able to remain open, minimising disruption to services.

The solar systems are ideally suited to leisure centres, which have relatively high power usage during daylight hours compared to residential properties, where energy usage is greatest during the evening.

The Exe Valley leisure centre is the largest photovoltaic installation ever completed by Kier and will produce 140Kw of power.

Nigel Brunton-Reed, operations director for Kier, said: “We are pleased to be able to help Mid Devon District Council reduce their environmental impact by embracing the benefits of solar power. At a time of record fuel prices and uncertainty over the future of government subsidies for renewable energy, many organisations are choosing to take advantage of the long-term savings delivered by subsidised energy production. As a result, we have seen record levels of interest in solar energy from businesses seeking to qualify for the government subsidy.”

Work on the Mid Devon contract was timed to be complete ahead of the government’s planned reduction in feed in tariffs in June 2012.

Currently for every kilowatt of energy produced by the photovoltaic systems, the government pays the owner up to 21p. However, the level of subsidy will fall in June, which has prompted a rush in demand for solar power as customers seek to capitalise on the potential savings.

Commenting on the installation, Cllr Ray Radford, cabinet member for the environment, said: “This is a perfect opportunity for the council to make electricity cost savings and installing solar panels on our buildings is one of a number of energy-efficient initiatives the council has introduced to both save money and reduce carbon emissions.”

Kier has completed a number of other solar panel installation projects across Devon, having previously installed panels at other council buildings including schools and libraries.

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