Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire County Council buildings to get solar panels

Hampshire County council has decided put solar panels on 200 of its buildings in a bid to cut energy bills.

The panels could be fitted to most of its properties at a cost of £15.8m and the energy produced would be sold back to the national grid, the council said.

Under a government energy payment scheme, the council could make £27.4m from so called feed-in-tariffs (FITs).

The photo-voltaic (PV) panels could also help it save £10m on its bills, which it estimates will double by 2020.

The council estimates its energy bill, excluding schools, will rise from £4m to £8m in the next 10 years, and that it will have trebled to £12m by 2030.

Guaranteed income

It hopes to be able to generate 10% of the energy it needs through the PV panels.

Solar panels installed before March 2012 have their FITs guaranteed for 25 years under the government scheme, but an energy review is planned for this summer and the tariffs may change.

Councillor Mel Kendal, member for the environment at the Conservative-led council, said: "We have nearly 200 buildings involved and no-one's attempted anything on this scale before.

"It's easy enough to put PV on one particular building, one particular office, if it faces the right direction.

"It's another thing entirely to make sure that you're doing it correctly for all your buildings to reduce your overall electricity consumption - and that's what we're after."

The council decided at a meeting earlier to take the plans forward.

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