Council boosts green credentials with waste depot solar panels
Solar panels are being installed on top of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s waste depot – which will generate around a quarter of all the electricity the building uses.
The installation is the latest stage in the Council’s efforts to be “green to the core” and will deliver clean, renewable energy, reduce costs and cut carbon emissions. It follows on from a recent Council commitment to work towards the ambitious target of making South Cambridgeshire carbon-neutral by 2050, and a purge on single-use plastics at the authority.
The solar panels are being mounted on the roof of the building at Waterbeach that is home to the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils.
The installation will generate 19,121 kilowatt hours per year of energy savings. According to Ofgem figures, that’s the average amount of electricity used by around six homes every year.
The installation is expected to pay for itself within eight years. It will take advantage of the last of the Government’s feed-in tariff, which is a payment to an energy user for the renewable electricity they generate. It will provide income to the Council for 20 years.
The project is being organised by Bouygues Energies and Services.
The Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, Cllr Pippa Heylings (pictured), said: “This is further proof that we are doing everything we can to be green to our core. We are facing a climate emergency and need to work urgently to fulfill our pledge to make the whole district carbon-neutral by 2050. Not enough has been done so far to address the climate breakdown which is why we’re already feeling the effects of climate change in the UK through more storms, flooding and heatwaves. Experts tell us that this situation will get worse unless we take immediate action.
"Putting solar panels on our waste depot is a no-brainer. It provides free and clean energy and after eight years the panels will have paid for themselves and will be generating additional income for the Council. We have worked at speed to get the panels installed before national government removes the feed-in tariff. We have also moved quickly to eliminate the use of single-use plastic at the Council. These are small steps forward for us as a Council to take a lead in this area. We of course want to do even more though, and we are already talking with planners, developers, businesses and communities about the roles we can and should all play for the benefit of our district, the planet and future generations.”
The Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Bridget Smith, added: “One of our key pledges is to make climate change mitigation and environmental impacts key considerations in everything we do. These panels will generate clean, free, renewable energy but are just one part of our much bigger plans to be even greener. We’re also working to maintain and improve air quality, reduce waste and are determined to leave a positive environmental mark.”
South Cambridgeshire is the second largest district in Cambridgeshire.