Free solar panel project nets wildlife accolade for renewables firm

February 29, 2012

Freesource Energy, the renewables company based at Corsham, has been highly commended by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust for its work supplying free solar PV systems to homes.

The firm collected the accolade in the Climate Change Impact category of the Trust’s fourth Corporate Green Awards.

People in more than a hundred homes have benefitted from Freesource’s programme and are now enjoying significant reductions in their energy bills as a result of the free electricity generated by the roof panels.

Freesource Energy managing director Alex Lockton was presented with the award by broadcaster and author Philippa Forrester in front of 125 regional business leaders at a ceremony last week at the Wellington Barn, Calstone near Calne.

Alex said: “We’re very proud of our free solar programme which means people who aren’t in a position to invest in solar panels can still benefit from free electricity and a significant reduction in energy bills.

“Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is an organisation that’s particularly close to my heart as a former volunteer for it, and where I did my energy efficiency advisor training while setting up Freesource Energy six years ago.”

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s fundraising officer Matthew Powell added: “We’ve had more nominations from businesses than ever before and that is because in tough economic conditions businesses are seeking an edge to separate themselves from competitors.

“If a company can show its customers that it is taking steps to be green, and then further boosts its credibility by linking with us, this can help it win contracts.”

Freesource Energy’s free solar scheme is now available for a limited time only due to imminent changes in Government subsidies. Anyone wanting to take part is urged to act fast as the programme is likely to close at the end of March.

Under the scheme, homeowners benefit from self-generated green electricity and up to 50% off energy bills while Freesource Energy and its funding partner receive what is known as the feed-in tariff – regular payments that energy suppliers are obliged to pay to generators of green electricity.

Owners of a four-bedroom house with a four-kilowatt peak solar panel system would typically save between £175 and £260 a year through the scheme. This saving will increase as energy bills rise.

The homeowner also has the option to buy the system from the company at any stage during the 25-year term – they would then receive the feed-in tariff payments, generating an additional annual income of around £800.

To be considered for the scheme homeowners need a relatively up-to-date electrical system and a minimum of 26m² of space on a south-facing standard pitched roof (ie not flat) with no trees or other buildings obscuring sunlight.

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