06/12/2013

Old drill tower transformed into green power generator

POSTED IN General

The drill tower at the old fire station has been brought back to life as a renewable power generator to fuel the Eco-station.

Sixty solar panels have been installed on the tower which will reduce energy bills and cut the carbon footprint. Any excess will be fed back into the National Grid.

The panels could produce enough energy to power four average households in Whitehill & Bordon for an entire year.

The panels are made up of layers of cells of a semi conducting material. When sunlight hits the panels an electric field is created between the layers. This process generates a direct current which is then converted to an alternating current and sent to the Eco-station.

Cllr David Parkinson, East Hampshire District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “It’s great that we can harness the power of the sun to provide a sustainable source of energy for the Eco-station – and reduce the energy bills.

“This regeneration is a prime example of reusing an old building which has had its purpose extinguished!”

This could form a new stream of funding for the council via the government’s Feed-in Tariff which generates a tax-free income.

This tariff is available for homeowners too, and is based on the electricity which is generated from renewable energy systems such as solar panels.

The Feed-in Tariff generates income in three ways, a generation tariff, export tariff and directly through the energy supplier.

Cllr Melissa Maynard, East Hampshire District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Energy and Renewables, said: “It is very important that as the council we lead the way in combating our changing climate.

“By making use of renewable energies such as sunlight and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels we can move closer to living within our planet’s means.”

The drill tower was previously used to train fire-fighters to help them handle real life emergencies.

HBS Group Southern, experts in renewable energy, recently installed the solar panels on the tower on behalf of East Hampshire District Council.

Jim Allman of Boulter Mossman, surveyors for the project, said: “We hope that this landmark project will make a statement about renewable technologies and the prominent location will encourage debate and conversation about energy use.

“Reusing the redundant drill tower also highlights that while renewable technologies will play a key role in hitting government’s targets of reducing carbon emissions by 2020, the intelligent use and reuse of existing structures and buildings have an important part to play in the drive for sustainability.”

The installation of the solar panels cost £52,050 (this includes work to the drill tower, waste removal and the display in the Eco-station) which was paid for with central government funding.