Monday, 28 December 2009

Two cheers for Camden Council?

I am looking into getting solar panels for the roof of my house… I have had the quotes and the simulations, and it looks like it would make sense. A small system will cover about 60%-70% of my electricity needs for the year, and save about 400 kg of carbon dioxide…but they don’t come cheap, and this has always stopped me before.

The reason I am looking into it now is that this is a good time to do it if you live in the UK. The old system of grants is being phased out, and a new feed-in tariff (fixed payment for every kWh produced) is being brought in next year. This means that right now you can get the grants and the feed-in tariff.. (I can hear the Telegraph howling!).

This still leaves a gap however, and this is where Camden Council comes in with its own system of top-up grants to make the panels even more affordable. Altogether, these schemes can provide nearly £4000 in grants, and a feed-in tariff! (Well, we all subsidize the fossil-fuel industry, let’s give small scale renewables a go!)

The question is, why isn’t the council making a bigger deal out of this? It wasn’t exactly well advertised, and I only found it on my fourth visit to the website, and after conducting an advanced search. This is a decent set-up, which Camden Council should be proud of! They have the chance to really roll out solar across the Borough, which would surely be a feather in their cap.

It could be of course that they simply don’t have the money and are hoping that nobody will notice, but even if that is the case there are a lot of things they could do (solar loans etc.). In any case I thought mention it, as I think that more people need to know.

I am not really sure where this post is going, but I suppose the message is, scour your local authority’s information, because there might be more support available for these things than you think. And if there isn’t, write to them to ask why not!

(Hasten to point out that I still haven't forgiven the council for its poor redesign of the Kings Cross area, but that is for another day!)

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