A Cornwall village that installed solar panels as part of Government’s Low Carbon Community Challenge is set to distribute profits of £20,000 amongst the local community.
Ladock’s low-carbon project has overseen the installation of a range of renewable energy technologies across the parish, including: 12 sets of photovoltaic panels, five sets of solar thermal panels, two biomass boilers, two ground source heat pumps and a wind turbine. A large proportion of the installations are sited on prominent community buildings such as the schools, the village halls and the pubs.
The £20,000 of income generated from the feed-in tariff will be put into a Community Benefit Society, Low Carbon Ladock Ltd, and spent on the installation of further energy saving equipment.
Group Chairman, Chris Jones, explained the rationale behind the community scheme, stating: “I think we all realise that energy prices are going to continue to rise into the future and we are going to be faced with changes in the way we actually procure and use energy. That means that renewables are going to have to be at least a part of the mix, if not a very large part of the mix. The feed-in tariff actually helps create the investment environment to actually get these things to happen.”
The local reaction to the renewable energy co-operative has been overwhelmingly positive, boasting over 75 members to date.
Jones explained that the nature of the feed-in tariff allows the community co-operative to create a revolving fund to help fund further eco-developments, saying: "We hope our donation to the community will be that kind of order every year. We are trying to increase our ability to earn money and benefit the whole community as well."
Jones continued by explaining that the co-operative still expects to generate modest profits despite Government’s recent feed-in tariff cuts and plans to significantly reduce the incentive over the coming years, commenting: "The cost of solar energy is coming down, so the ratio of what you spend and earn is quite similar."
Chris Jones, Low Carbon Ladock Chairman, explains the group’s work through the Low Carbon Communities Challenge: