On Solar Independence Day Swindon’s bus company Thamesdown Transport is taking part in a nationwide celebration of solar homes, schools, big commercial solar installations when it opens its garage at Barnfield to the public to showcase its rooftop solar PV installation.
On Friday 3 July, 10 am to 2pm, residents, schools, businesses and community groups are invited to see how solar rooftops generate clean, home-produced electricity while helping Swindon Borough Council, which owns the Thamesdown Transport bus depot, keep its energy bills low. They will have an opportunity to see the panels up close with a platform lift to take people up to roof level.
The 99kWp solar array on the bus company roof saves around 43 tonnes of carbon a year and has cut the amount of energy needed on site by 18 per cent, resulting in savings of over £33,000 a year for Swindon Borough Council.
The array was installed by Public Power Solutions, a wholly owned company of Swindon Borough Council. James Owen, commercial director for the company, said: “Solar energy is the most popular form of energy at more than 80 per cent support in official opinion polls. Solar makes no noise or waste and has no moving parts. It produces no carbon emissions and with the right support could be as cheap as fossil fuel electricity by 2020.
“I hope lots of people will be able to come along on Friday and see it in action here in Swindon and how it is helping save taxpayers’ money while cutting carbon emissions.”
A series of Solar Independence Day open days are taking place across the country on 3 and 4 July, led by the Solar Trade Association. The open days also include a housing estate in Northumberland, a farm building in Perthshire, a community solar farm in Hampshire and a further education college in Edinburgh.
The theme of the event, solar independence, follows the Solar Trade Association’s publication just a few weeks ago of its ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’, which sets out how the new Conservative government can take steps to ensure that British solar can beat fossil fuels on price and without subsidy as soon as possible. The trade body’s analysis shows that by using funds more efficiently this government could double the amount of solar energy in 2020 for very little extra money.