Caroline Lucas MP Goes Even Greener with Domestic Solar Panels
Sussex firm chosen to install panels on MP’s Brighton house roof
October 05, 2011, Sussex, UK. Press Dispensary.
Photo available for media use: Caroline Lucas MP with Daniel Lawes and Michael Yeoman; Directors of South Downs Solar – see below for contacts
Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion, has boosted her eco-credentials even further this week with the installation of a 16 module solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of her family home in her Brighton constituency, and she turned to a local Sussex company to carry out the work.
South Downs Solar (www.southdownssolar.co.uk), one of the region’s premier solar panel installation companies, was called in by Lucas when she wanted to reduce not only her CO2 emissions but also her energy bills.
Caroline Lucas MP explains what drove her decision to install the panels:
"Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy is an important way of reducing our C02 emissions - and installing solar PV makes great economic sense as well. Not only can we reduce our fuel bills by generating more of our own electricity, but the Government's Feed-In tariff scheme means that we get paid for any excess electricity we generate when it's fed back to the grid.”
South Downs Solar worked with the Green MP to ensure she had a system that met her needs and maximized the economic and environmental benefits. The company installed a 4KWp solar system (standard for a residential installation) giving Lucas access to the highest tariff within the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme at a rate of 43.3p per kWh for each unit of electricity produced by her panels. In addition to this Caroline will also benefit from free electricity in her own home, saving her 12 pence per kWh with any un-used electricity going back to the grid earning her 3.1p per kWh.
Michael Yeoman, Managing Director of South Downs Solar says that while every roof is different, the installation at Caroline Lucas’s house was fairly typical:
“Caroline’s house has a large southern facing pitched roof space which is ideal for positioning a solar panel system. As with so many period houses that have had loft conversions, we positioned the panels either side of roof windows and decided on the best fit for her home, having already ensured that the roof was strengthened. As with most solar panel installations, none of this work required planning permission as it falls within Permitted Development Rights.”
Why Solar panels make economic – and environmental - sense
Many householders and businesses have taken advantage of the recently introduced Feed-in Tariff, brought in to encourage the uptake of renewable energy in the UK. The government has committed to funding the Feed-in Tariff for 25 years and will ensure that each year this rises with inflation. With the continued price rises for traditional energy sources, solar PV is helping households to protect against future price increases and become more self sufficient for their energy needs.
Type of solar PV system installed
South Downs Solar Limited provided a highly efficient 3.92KWp solar photovoltaic system which is comprised of Suntech 245 watt modules combined with a Power One inverter. We chose the Suntech panels as they have strong green credentials which includes using 80% renewable energy in the manufacturing process, 33% less oxygen used in silicon cell production and was recently honoured with the "Global Leader Award 2011" from Murphy & Spitz, designed to recognize sustainable companies for exceptional environmental, health and safety (EH&S) practices. The Power One inverter was chosen due to its dual tracker which maximises yield and ability to start at a lower voltage.
How the solar PV system will perform
Using the Government Standard Assessment Procedures (SAP) it expected that the solar PV installation will provide a return of approximately 12% per annum or a payback period of 8 years from the initial investment. Caroline Lucas’s system has been installed for 4 weeks now and has outperformed the Government’s SAP estimate of production of 350KWh for the past month by producing 433KWh, a 20% increase despite recent poor weather.
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Notes for editors
About South Downs Solar Limited
South Downs Solar Limited is a Sussex based solar installation company who assist both residential and commercial clients throughout the South. South Downs Solar provides independent advice on the most appropriate solar PV system for your home or business based upon your property’s situation, requirements and budget.
For more detail please contact South Downs Solar on Freephone 0800 009 4199 or via www.southdownssolar.co.uk
About Caroline Lucas (MP)
Caroline is the MP for Brighton Pavilion and leader of the Green Party of England & Wales. In 1999, she was elected to the European Parliament and served as MEP for South-East England until 2010, when she became the UK's first Green MP. A passionate campaigner on the environment, social justice, peace and human rights, Caroline was voted the UK's most ethical politician in 2007, 2009 and 2010 by readers of the Observer, and is one of the Environment Agency's Top 100 Eco-Heroes. To contact please access Caroline Lucas website: http://www.carolinelucas.com
For media enquiries and photos, please contact:
Michael Yeoman, Director
South Downs Solar Limited
Tel: + 44 (0) 7773 766 225 / + 44 (0) 800 009 4199