Ireland Councils Offered Solar Grants

Councils throughout Northern Ireland will soon have the opportunity to re-energize their properties because of Solar21, a new renewable energy support program from Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE). Grants totaling GBP £50,000 (USD 90,000) are intended to encourage councils to install a 5 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system on one of their public buildings.

Belfast, Ireland – August 24, 2004 [] The new scheme, which is also supported by the Energy Savings Trust (EST), will contribute 75 percent towards the costs of the high efficiency Sanyo system, which should generate up to 4,400 units of environmentally friendly electricity per year. DTI Energy Minister Stephen Timms said, “Integrating new, renewable sources of energy into everyday usage is one of the most important challenges we face over coming years. I am therefore very impressed by the lead shown by NIE and the Energy Saving Trust in giving all local Councils the chance to install solar systems, and I would encourage all Councils to take advantage of the opportunity.” Solarcentury, a United Kingdom based PV company, will working with locals installers to provide a turnkey service for the 5 kW PV systems. The company will apply for the NIE grants on behalf of the local councils, and will manage the entire installation from design right through to commissioning. The Energy Saving Trust will contribute 50 percent of the costs, and NIE will contribute 25 percent so local authorities should only have to pay GBP £7,500 for the systems. Each installed system has a 25-year guarantee. The Borough of Craigavon, Ireland has already taken advantage of the PV grant. Mayor and Alderman David Simpson said, “I am delighted that Craigavon is the first Council in Northern Ireland to have these photovoltaic solar panels installed. This complements our existing hydro and wind schemes, which are soon to be expanded. We are grateful to Northern Ireland Electricity and the Energy Saving Trust for their assistance with this project.”
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