Mepal to benefit from council’s environmental initiative

A BOLD decision by Mepal Parish Council to invest villagers’ money in an environmentally friendly initiative has been hailed a success.

In 2010 the parish embarked on a project to reduce carbon emissions and invest in green technology, the newly built community pavilion made the centre of the plans with the installation of a set of solar panels.

A 50 per cent grant towards the �16,000 cost was secured from the Building Research Establishment, with the remaining money invested from village funds and in November 2011 a solar panel system was installed and commissioned in the village.

Sally Shipley, Mepal parish clerk, said: “After eight months, the results to date have been very pleasing and indicate that the council’s decision to invest the community’s money in this project has been amply justified.

“By the end of August this year the system had generated 2,997 kWh which means that the payments received are already considerably greater than the loan repayments. “In a full year it is anticipated that the system will generate about 4,000 kWh resulting in a sizeable net profit which can be used to support activities within the community.”

Government Feed in Tariff payments will continue to support the panels for 25 years and are index linked, so they will increase year by year in line with inflation. After 10 years, the council predict that the loan will have been repaid and the tariff payments will represent extra income for the village, equating to about �1,600 a year.

Mrs Shipley added: “Whilst the main goal of the project was to provide direct benefit to the local community and to the environment by reducing consumption of fossil fuels, it was also designed to demonstrate these benefits to local residents and businesses.”