Solar panel scheme extended

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Two months after launching a £20 million investment package for community buildings in Cornwall, Community Energy Plus has extended the scheme.

The Cornish sustainable energy charity is now broadening its offer of free solar panels into Devon, as well as including businesses and non-commercial organisations.

Explaining the decision to expand the initiative, sustainable energy projects manager Neil Farrington said: “With uncertainly surrounding the Feed-in Tariff rates from April 2012, the future of commercial and privately financed schemes cannot be determined.

“We want to ensure that as many local communities as possible take advantage of the feed in tariff while it exists. While we initially focussed the scheme on community buildings in Cornwall, the demand and finance available has given us the opportunity to expand the scheme into a wider area and to a more inclusive range of buildings.”

Buildings taking up the offer will be able to take advantage of free electricity generated by the systems ranging in size from 2 kW to 50 kW but unlike other ‘rent a roof schemes’ will also receive an income from any electricity not used within the building that is exported to the National Grid.

Since launching its ‘Solar Communities 2011’ scheme in July, Community Energy Plus has received interest from almost 150 organisations and technical surveys and planning applications are currently underway on around 100 buildings.

The Cornwall based installers involved in the Solar Communities 2011 scheme are Clean Earth Energy, Plug Into The Sun, Solar Solutions and Solen Energy UK.