Since its establishment in 2010, the Sheringham Shoal Community Fund has provided grant support to the trustees and committees of a number of village halls and community centres across North Norfolk to help with the installation of solar photovoltaic panels.
However, the latest grant for such an installation is a ‘first’ for Sheringham Shoal Community Fund because the 2.65 kWh solar panel system recently installed at Dilham Village Hall has a 6.4kWh battery storage capability.
An energy consultant’s report was commissioned as part of the research for this innovative system; this indicated that since over 63% of the Hall’s annual electricity usage is in the evenings, a system without battery storage would result in the hall drawing electricity from the National Grid for these periods.
Dilham Village Hall Trustee Tony Kirwan has high expectations of the new system, saying: “I am expecting 3 to 4 hours of sunlight we might get on a normal day to provide sufficient energy for two and a half evenings of village hall use, and I shall be collecting and analysing the performance data automatically collected.”
The batteries have a forecast life of 10 years, and their replacement would cost around £4,000 at today’s prices. With estimated electricity savings of round £420 a year, while reducing annual carbon emissions by 1.2 tonnes, the Trustees believe they must use the renewable energy generated and stored by the solar photovoltaic system to create additional income streams.
“The next phase of our development plan is to find cost effective ways of installing and maintaining a number of electric car and mobility scooter charging points on the village hall car park” said Tony Kirwan.
He added: “These will not just benefit those who live in the village, and their familiies and friends, but also the tourists who come and stay and use the countryside and waterways around the village, which is at the most northerly point of the broads for powered and sailing boats. It is another small contribution to stopping Dilham being flooded by rising sea levels.”
Visiting Dilham Village Hall recently, Ross McMilan, the Head of Operations and Maintenance at the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, said:
“The village hall is used by a wide variety of groups and organisations and I am delighted that the Sheringham Shoal Community Fund has been able to support the Trustees with a grant for this innovative renewable energy system. We shall be very interested to see the performance statistics for its first 12 months of operation.”
The Sheringham Shoal Community Fund supports projects that make a difference in North Norfolk, tackling issues including climate change, sustainable communities, marine environment / safety, renewable energy and education / employment. It is administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation [www.norfolkfoundation.com]
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