What better venue could there be for renewable energy, than somewhere that everyone will benefit from it?!
Gwent Energy CIC installed a 10kWp solar PV system on the roof of the community centre. This powers the centre, which is fantastic for reducing the energy bills. This project was a little bit different though, as we wanted to provide even more community benefit.
We installed four electric vehicle charge points: one 22kWh, two 7.2kWh and one 3.6kWh.
Payments can be made by contactless direct debit, which is great while you're on the go or popping in to take part in an activity. We ask people to bring their own cable – if you've got an electric car it's an important thing to have. We can't always be at the centre, so it also means you can charge your car anytime.
The chargers have been a great success, and their presence means that more people are able to visit the area sustainably. We have installed a number of chargers with council permission, and these should encourage more visitors for business and tourism, which is great for local businesses.
Since August 2020 the Trustees have also used the chargers to power the community bus!
Now that FIT and similar funding from government is no longer available, we are having to think about how we will fund future projects. It's a challenge to invest in fantastic renewables projects like this because although it results in huge energy bill savings, the initial cost is quite high and the capital isn't easy to come by.
As well as providing much-needed funds for our community centre, we hope the chargers will inspire local residents to get an electric car if they're able to. Having a charger close to home, and at a local hub for activities, could take away the worry of where to charge your car. It's a great way to cut local air pollution and reduce our local environmental footprint.
Community organisations that provide free transport for vulnerable people needing to attend appointments, or meal on wheel deliveries, rely heavily on keeping costs low. By switching to an electric vehicle and powering it using a solar PV system, this project ticks so many positive boxes.