Release date: 13 November 2019
Solar farms developed by West Sussex County Council are generating more clean electricity than expected and delivering greater than predicted environmental and financial benefits.
The news comes during ‘Save Energy’ month – part of the County Council’s Climate Pledge designed to encourage residents to make small changes in their daily lives that collectively will help combat climate change.
Tangmere solar farm, the first of its kind to be developed by the County Council under its ambitious Energy Strategy, has just celebrated its fourth birthday and continues to out-perform original predictions.
According to generation figures for the 2018/19 financial year the 5MW solar farm produced 5,267 MWh of clean electricity and prevented the release of 1,843 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This was enough additional clean electricity to power a further 108 homes and bring in £52,000 in extra income.
The performance of the 7.4MW Westhampnett solar farm, opened on a former landfill site in October 2018, is also well on track. It generated 1,775 MWh of clean electricity in just a few months, delivered a 545-tonne carbon saving and a financial return 5% above predictions.
Westhampnett is the first publicly owned solar farm to be built with large on-site batteries which store surplus electricity which is fed into the grid when it is needed. The batteries help to balance supply and demand on the electricity grid, a service which provides additional income to the County Council.
Steve Read, Acting Executive Director for Place Services, said: “We aim to lead by example by generating clean energy across our estate and improving the energy efficiency of our own buildings.
“We already generate more renewable electricity than we use in carrying out our core County Council functions, excluding schools and street lighting, and expect to increase this generation capacity further as more projects come on stream in the years ahead.”
In addition to its large solar farms, the County Council is coming to the end of its programme to install solar panels on more than 80 schools. These installations will reduce overall annual carbon emissions by 1,300 tonnes and, on average, save £2,000 off each school’s annual energy bill.
The County Council plans to develop other large energy projects that will support renewable energy in the county, including a large battery storage facility on a former waste site at Halewick Lane in Sompting.
As part of the Climate Pledge West Sussex County Council is asking residents to look at ways that they can reduce their energy usage to help limit carbon emissions and also save money.
Here are some tips on how to save energy:
· As lighting accounts for around 15% of your household energy bill turn off the lights when they’re not in use
· Replace old lightbulbs with low energy LED alternatives
· If you reduce the temperature on the thermostat by 1°C you could cut your annual energy bill by £75 and reduce carbon emissions by 300kg
· Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money
· Switch to renewable electricity – most energy suppliers now offer a green energy tariff. As an example all electricity supplied through Your Energy Sussex, the council supported energy supplier, is sourced from UK based solar and wind energy producers.
To make your climate pledge, or for more information please visit the Climate Pledge campaign page.
You can also follow @WSClimatePledge on Twitter, join the Facebook group ‘WS Climate Pledge’ or email the team at WSClimatePledge@westsussex.gov.uk.