The Cornish town of Wadebridge is to become home to a new solar scheme, launched to finance and promote enough solar power to generate 30% of the town’s needs by 2015.
Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN), which is being backed by the area's MP, Dan Rogerson, and the Wadebridge Chamber of Commerce, expects this sizable portion of renewable energy generation to produce an income of approximately £300,000 per year by taking advantage of the country’s feed-in tariff (FiT). The money raised by selling electricity to the National Grid will be added back into a fund for community projects in the town.
Stephen Frankel, the WREN convener said, “This income will allow us to invest in many of the things that people think the town needs – facilities for young people, support for our sports clubs, reducing fuel poverty or employing a town centre manager have been mentioned. WREN is being set up as a not-for-profit organisation where all decisions will be made democratically. It is therefore essential that people join up to make sure that decisions about how the funds will be spent reflect what people think is important for Wadebridge.”
Jerry Clark, who is leading technical developments for WREN said, “Householders, businesses and landowners are being asked by outside developers to accept solar panels in return for free electricity and other benefits. But those developers' profits will go outside Cornwall and in many cases outside the UK. WREN can offer the same benefits, but profits will go to the Wadebridge Community Fund.”
MP Dan Rogerson, also a member of the WREN Steering Group, said: “We need to develop our renewable energy resources, but we also need to keep more of the benefits in the area. All too often projects are driven from outside. This is an excellent example of the people of Wadebridge taking the initiative and doing something themselves for the town's future prosperity.”