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Time to go solar

Official buildings in Reading have gone solar.

Reading Borough Council has fitted the last of 2,126 solar panels to 46 of its buildings in the town in an aim to save money and help the environment.

The council believes the project is one of the biggest public sector solar projects in the country. It hopes the work will generate more than 115,000kWh of electricity a year and lower carbon emissions in Reading by 61 tonnes of CO2 – enough to fill 12 hot air balloons.

The panels have been installed on schools, council offices, leisure centres, libraries, private businesses and sheltered housing accommodation.

It is hoped the scheme can even make money for the council through the government’s Feed In Tariff initiative, which pays owners of renewable energy installations for each unit of renewable electricity generated.

James Freeman, chairman of Reading Buses, said: “Well, we have 209 solar panels on the roof of our depot, all facing beautifully into the south, into the sunshine.

“What that does for us is dramatically reduce our carbon foot print, which is something we are very keen on.

“We use a lot of electricity here, particularly during the day, which is when the sun shines, so we get the benefit of being able to use that energy straight away.”

Helen Robinson, schools energy carbon officer at Reading Borough Council, said: “We have put panels at 17 school sites across the borough.

“They will generate renewable electricity for the school, which the school can use and also reduce the school carbon emissions.

“They have a great educational benefit as well. The panels are on the roof and there is a display board in the school which shows the pupils just how much electricity the panels are generating and how much carbon it is saving for the school as well.”


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