Cornwall-based solar installer Renewable Energy Co-operative (R-ECO) has completed its first community project at Sterts Theatre, near Liskeard, North Cornwall. Cornwall Council provided funding via the Strategic Arts Clients’ Capital fund, and R-ECO provided match funding for the project. 

The Sterts theatre features a 6kWp solar PV system, resulting in a reduction to the facilities energy bill of an estimated 70%, aiming to make Sterts theatre carbon neutral by 2016.

The open air theatre had been finding things hard financially in recent years, which prompted R-ECO as a co-operative business with strong community goals, to install the system for free giving the theatre additional income to box office sales. The system is made up of 32 Egging Solar modules with three Solar Max 2000S over three phases.

Technical Director Abraham Cambridge said, “Cornwall is famous for it's open air theatre. When Sterts asked us if a solar PV system will help cut costs to keep the charity running, we were delighted to be able to assist them. As a co-operative business, communities are very important to us and the fact that Sterts brings £200,000 a year to the Cornish economy, supporting them by match funding a grant from Cornwall Council was a no brainer on our side.

The theatre didn't have to pay a penny and now gets free power and ongoing revenue for 25 years. I can't wait to see Wind in the Willows powered by solar energy!”

Sterts theatre’s summer line up includes a performance from American comedian Rich Hall, an in-house production of Guys and Dolls and a stage production of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox.