Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Solar Lewisham

We've had a number of enquiries from residents about how to get solar panels installed and what grants are available. Hopefully the information below will be of use (with thanks to Richard Hurford, the council's Sustainable Resources Group Manager). I have also set up a discussion group, solarlewisham@yahoogroups.com with the aim of helping those interested in renewable energy to share ideas and swap advice. If you would like to join the e-group, simply send an e-mail solarlewisham-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

There are grants available from the council and the government for renewable energy schemes, as follows;

Lewisham grant
Lewisham will provide a one-off grant of £500 to any Lewisham home installing appropriate renewable technology, subject to availability. Contact is 020 8314 6622, Private Sector Housing.

Low Carbon Building Programme
The Government has recently launched the Low Carbon Building Programme, a new £80 million scheme to invest in renewable energy, with grants available to the public. If you would like to talk to someone about the programme, call the free phone helpline on 0800 915 7722.

There are a number of technologies that the programme will cover, these include: Solar photovoltaics, Wind turbines, Small hydro, Solar thermal hot water, Heat pumps, Bio-energy.

There are a number of energy efficiency measures that you must undertake before you are eligible to apply for a grant under the low carbon buildings programme. These measures will ensure that you are minimising your energy requirements and are as follows:
a. You have a minimum of 270mm of loft insulation to meet current building regulations, where practicable - e.g. 270mm of mineral wool.
b. b. Installed cavity wall insulation (if you have cavity walls)
c. c. Using low energy light bulbs in all appropriate light fittings
d. d. Installed basic controls for your heating system to include a room thermostat and a programmer or timer.
It is also recommended that you complete a home energy check so that you can assess which measures are most suitable for your home.

Solar PV
If you want to consider solar PV (photovoltaic), then you may want to look at Solar Century.

Solar PV uses energy from the sun to create electricity to run appliances and lighting. PV requires only daylight - not direct sunlight - to generate electricity. You can use PV systems for a building with a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of south, as long as no other buildings or large trees overshadow it. If the roof surface is in shadow for parts of the day, the output of the system decreases.

Solar panels are not light and the roof must be strong enough to take their weight, especially if the panel is placed on top of existing tiles.

Prices for PV systems vary, depending on the size of the system to be installed, type of PV cell used and the nature of the actual building on which the PV is mounted. The size of the system is dictated by the amount of electricity required.

For the average domestic system, costs can be around £4,000- £9,000 per kWp installed, with most domestic systems usually between 1.5 and 2 kWp. Solar tiles cost more than conventional panels, and panels that are integrated into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top.

A useful website for further information is Energy Savings Trust. In addition, the Green Party’s Green Energy Works website has a number of useful links and background information Green Energy Works.

The installation of solar panels is classified as a permitted development under current planning legislation and therefore planning permission is generally not required, unless you live in a conservation area (but please check this with the planning department before you go ahead, just in case!). As things stand, if you live in a conservation area planning permission is required and you should seek advice from Lewisham planning office on 020 8314 7400 or planning@lewisham.gov.uk. A recent conversation I had with a planning officer suggested that they will look more favourably on applications for solar panels in conservation areas if they are on a rear roof or in the back garden, but this may well change in the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you a helpful introductin