Let the sun shine down – Solar energy news

Solar power has arrived in Beeding and Bramber Village Hall, just in time for the heat wave!

With the installation of a brand new solar and battery system, from now on the Hall will be self-sufficient in its electricity supply for most of the year.

That means the Playgroup will be powered by energy from the sun, as will the Bowls Club, the Pilates Group, the Camera Club, and all the other regular users. If you have a cup of tea it will be 100% renewable. If you plug in the hoover, switch on the washing machine, or crank up sound system, so will that.

The new solar setup is being officially launched at 1.00 on Saturday 13th August, timed to coincide with Greening Steyning’s monthly Repair Café and Home Energy Helpdesk.

Parish and District councillors will be there, as well as the Village Hall Trustees, users and others, to celebrate this big step forward in making the Village Hall more sustainable and climate friendly.

Here are some of technical details:

• The system is run by 16 photovoltaic (PV) panels, installed on the south facing back roof.
• It generates 5.9 kW of power on the sunniest days, about twice the output of a typical home PV system.
• Electricity that is not needed is fed into a battery so it can be stored for use when the sun goes in.
• Any excess power is fed back to the grid, generating income for the Village Hall.
• Super-efficient LED lighting has also been fitted throughout the building as part of the same project.

Taken together, this will cut the building’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 1.9 tonnes per year, as well
as saving a big chunk on energy bills.

Plans for the new system were developed in partnership with Greening Steyning and Brighton & Hove Energy Services Cooperative (BHESCo). It was funded through a grant from the Horsham District Council Community Climate Fund, and a family bequest.

If you’re thinking of installing a similar system on your home, now is the perfect time to do it. With energy prices going through the roof, and prices of solar kit falling, the economics of solar PV are looking better than ever.

If you would like to see the installation and get some friendly advice on costs and practicalities come along to the Home Energy Helpdesk, which starts at 14:00 on August 13th. You can book a spot here (https://bit.ly/HelpdeskAug22), or just turn up on the day.

Solar Farm News:
In other news, plans for the Adur Valley Solar Farm have been adjusted and resubmitted to Horsham District Council. They have been scaled back slightly from an earlier version put forward in January.

The proposal site is at Huddlestone Farm, just north of Steyning. It is the far side of a slight ridge, so will be largely invisible from the south side, and will be hidden by trees and hedges from most directions.

If approved, it would be a game changer in making the local community more energy self-sufficient. The scheme would generate around 16 MW of clean renewable power, enough on average for 3200 homes – 68% of all the households in Steyning, Bramber & Beeding.

To put it in context, this is equivalent to 2,600 village hall systems! And it would use less than 1% of the combined land area of the three parishes.

Greening Steyning has studied the plans carefully and is strongly backing the scheme, having looked at implications for wildlife, agriculture and the landscape.

You can read their analysis here: https://greeningsteyning.org/adurvalley

Horsham District Council is yet to decide whether to approve the scheme. But, having objected to a previous version, Steyning Parish Council Planning Committee gave its blessing to the revised plans at its July meeting.

So solar power could be taking a big step further forward in the coming months. Keep an eye on the Greening Steyning website for news.

Photo Credit: Frank Bull)
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