Village hall given solar panels as part of ‘pioneering’ green energy project

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 June 2018

Mike Rippon with the solar array on the village hall roof.

Mike Rippon with the solar array on the village hall roof.

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A Somerset village has reached a milestone in its ambitions to become England’s first zero-carbon village.

Green Wedmore volunteers.Green Wedmore volunteers.

Environmental group Green Wedmore wants its community to become the country’s first zero-cabon village by 2045.

To help in those ambitions, solar panels and a storage battery system have been installed at the village hall in Cheddar Road.

Green Wedmore supported the village hall’s management committee to fit the four kilowatt renewable energy system at the building, which is often used for events.

The electricity generated by the 14 solar panels can be used to meet the hall’s immediate energy needs, or it can be stored in the batteries to be used later. Any excess power can be sold to the national grid.

Mike Rippon, the village hall treasurer, said: “From what we’ve seen so far, the PV (photovoltaic) panels are not only generating enough electricity to meet the requirements of hall users during the day but they store enough power in the battery to meet the needs of evening users as well.

“The hall committee is delighted to be able to demonstrate within the community the benefits of renewable energy and we hope that it will encourage others to do the same.”

The system, which cost £12,750, was paid for through grants and donations from a local benefactor, Wedmore Community Power Co-operative, and Marks & Spencer’s energy fund.

British Solar Renewables, Viridor Credits and NextEnergy also supported the project.

Wedmore already has a community-owned solar PV plant which generates enough energy for 300 homes, while solar panels on the village’s first school generate power to help it meet its needs.

Sonya Bedford, vice-chairman of Green Wedmore, said: “The village hall’s installation of solar PV and a battery is a significant step on the journey to Zero Carbon Wedmore.

“Wedmore is pioneering in its approach to sustainability and we hope the new solar and storage system will inspire others to follow.

“The village hall will now be saving money and carbon emissions, which is good for everyone in the parish.”

The Zero Cabon Wedmore project focuses on renewable energy, transport, and housing.

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