Community Energy Warwickshire’s solar-powered hospitals project, which saw 60 kWp of solar panels installed on roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick hospitals, has completed its first year. And despite the poor weather during summer 2012, the panels have generated over 56,000 kW hours since installation – enough to save 28 tonnes of carbon.
The monthy records show the pattern of the local weather over the past 12 months – a sunny March followed by a dull April, a brighter May followed by a very dull June. The best day for generation for the larger 50 kWp array at Warwick Hospital was Saturday 26 May, when 345 units were generated – and the end of May was especially sunny, with 2,232 units generated in the week from 22 May to 28 May. At the other extreme, heavy cloud and snow prevented any generation at all at Warwick on 21 January 2013 – the middle of a week in which just 11 units were generated in total.
Community Energy Warwickshire director Roger Matthews, who has been monitoring the output over the last year, said there had been great fluctuations in generation day by day. “Last summer’s weather was recognised as particularly poor, and we had few periods of any length when the sun shone consistently. Despite this, the panels generated above their factory specification and have already made a contribution to saving carbon for the hospitals.”
Following the installation of the solar panels at Stratford and Warwick Hospitals, Community Energy Warwickshire has been working with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which owns the two hospitals, on energy saving sessions for Trust staff. The energy co-operative is also looking at a number of possible follow-on projects.
Members of Community Energy Warwickshire heard of the sucesses of the last year at the co-op’s 2012 Annual General Meeting, held in Leamington Spa on Tuesday 22 May 2012.
Co-op Secretary Barbara Cooper recalled that at the 2011 Annual General Meeting “we did not even have a bank account”. But in the last year, Community Energy Warwickshire has successfully installed 60 kWp of solar panels at roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick Hospitals, thanks to an innovative agreement with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals.
Funding for the installations was raised through a share offer which raised over £100,000, and the project also involved the development of a new template for solar panel leases, which is now available to other community groups. Co-op members also heard how the project had to navigate the uncertainties created by the Government’s attempts to cut feed-in tariffs for solar energy installations.
Following the installation of the solar panels, the co-op has carried out an initial feasibility study of hte use of local food waste to generate energy through anaerobic digestion and it is launching an Energy Savers scheme to help households reduce energy consumption in the home. Community Energy Warwickshire’s newly expanded Board will be developing plans for future projects over the summer.
Community Energy Warwickshire is also a finalist in this year’s Renewable Energy Association awards.
Community Energy Warwickshire has announced that Eco2Solar has been awarded the contract for installation of solar PV panels on roofs at Stratford and Warwick hospitals.
Community Energy Warwickshire started a competitive procurement process for the project in March, when invitations to express an interest in solar PV installations were sent to a range of local firms. Five firms were then selected, on the basis of their experience of large and complex installations, to tender for the solar-powered hospitals scheme. Following the receipt of tenders, and a round of detailed follow-up questions, Community Energy Warwickshire’s board has chosen West Midlands firm Eco2Solar as its partner for this project.
Community Energy Warwickshire’s Chair Keith Sinfield said: “After a rigorous procurement process, we are delighted to announce that we will be working with Eco2Solar on our first major project. Eco2Solar offered the best balance of cost-effectiveness and appropriate experience for this innovative scheme.”
Community Energy Warwickshire is now awaiting planning permissions, and plans to launch an offer of community shares to raise funds for the installations in September.
Members of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust heard more about Community Energy Warwickshire’s plans to install solar panels on the roofs of local hospitals at the Trust’s Annual General Meeting on 19 July 2011 in Warwick.
Trust Chief Executive Glen Burley highlighted the proposal during his presentation of the Trust’s Annual Report to the meeting, and Finance Director David Moon later pointed to the way that rising energy costs were affecting the Trust’s finances.
Trust members were also able to collect information and ask questions at a Community Energy Warwickshire stall, where a number signed up to receive more information about the forthcoming issue of community shares to fund the installation.
And Trust members generally will be able to read more about Community Energy Warwickshire and the hospitals’ project in the latest issue of the Trust’s magazine The Pulse.
Innovative plans for community involvement in the installation of solar panels at Stratford and Warwick hospitals have been praised by Government energy minister, Greg Barker.
The plans, announced last week by Community Energy Warwickshire and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, would see 70 kilowatts of solar panels installed on selected roofs at the hospitals. Community Energy Warwickshire will be raising the finance for the panels, which will supply the hospitals with reduced price electricity.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday 7 July in reply to a question from Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White, Mr Barker said the scheme was “exactly the kind of project delivered through exactly the kind of partnership that we need to see nore of.”
Keith Sinfield, Community Energy Warwickshire’s chair, said: “We are currently working with the hospitals to organise the installation of the solar panels, and we will shortly be inviting local people to invest in the scheme through a community shares offer.”
The scheme will also see Community Energy Warwickshire promoting opportunities for energy saving with hospital staff. Community Energy Warwickshire’s long-term plans are to work with local communities to help them switch to renewable energy as well as to save energy and cut fuel bills.
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has formally agreed to Community Energy Warwickshire’s proposal for the installation of solar panels on roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick hospitals.
The solar panels will provide electricity at a discount to the Trust as well as helping it to reduce its carbon footprint. Community Energy Warwickshire will also be working with the Trust to encourage staff and visitors to help the hospitals to cut their energy costs as part of a programme of energy saving activities.
Funds for the scheme, which is believed to be the first time the NHS has worked with the local community to install solar power at hospitals, will be raised by offering people shares in Community Energy Warwickshire.
Jayne Blacklay, Director of Development at the Trust, said “We are excited to work with Community Energy Warwickshire on this project. It will help us further reduce our carbon footprint, and we will be working with Community Energy Warwickshire to engage our staff in continuing to contribute to the Trust’s carbon reduction programme.”
For Community Energy Warwickshire, Chair Keith Sinfield said: “The agreement with the Trust will launch the first major community development of renewable energy in south Warwickshire and will help us to offer opportunities to local people to save energy and cut fuel costs.”