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Solar initiative
Solar panels will be fitted on several public buildings across Torbay from early next year as part of a major environmental drive by Torbay Council.

The council has approved funding for the scheme, which is aimed at saving money, generating income from the energy created, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the development of a low carbon economy in Torbay.

Plans to install photovoltaic (PV) systems on the roofs of up to 45 public buildings, including schools and council offices, will benefit from the Government's clean energy funding scheme.

It will enable the council to benefit from government ‘feed-in tariffs’ which over 25 years which could attract a net income of up to £1.5 million. It is also available to householders and businesses.

The scheme is estimated to save about £640,000 in electricity costs, based on current electricity prices, and save nearly 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the programme.

The buildings, on which the panels are sited, will benefit from reductions in their energy bills, and the panels will continue producing electricity for many years beyond the end of the 25-year programme.

Several Torbay schools and commercial tenants have already expressed interest in the project.

Participating schools will also receive free monitoring and display equipment so people can easily see the amount of energy and carbon being saved, as well as receiving educational packs to help in lessons.

Following the council's funding green light, officers will now hold detailed discussions with schools and businesses occupying council buildings prior to starting the procurement process to appoint contractors to install the solar panels.