Centre Goes Solar
Priestwood Community Centre Committee members were out in force last Tuesday to see solar panels installed on the roof of their Community Centre.
The inspiration for the 2 year long project came from David Little who masterminded the installation of solar panels for his local community Centre in Martin's Heron and The Warren in 2012, David worked closely with Priestwood's Ed Glasson on the now defunct Bracknell Forest Federation of Community Groups which aimed to promote 'green policies' at Community Centres. Encouraged by BFC Climate Change Manager Colin Griffin and driven by Cllr. Tricia Brown, the project has finally moved from idea to reality with the installation of solar panels at Priestwood this autumn.
Tricia worked hard with the BFC staff over the past 2 years, using her BFC members' initiative fund to finance the £7000 cost of the project.
Evidence of the impact of installation comes from Martin's Heron and The Warren where the panels are now contributing £2000 per annum in lower energy bills and FIT payments, (for surplus energy fed back into the grid), to the local Community Association.
BFCs Energy Manager, Steven Milne said the likely returns in Priestwood would be more modest because FIT payments are less generous than they once were. However, they should be in the region of £900 a year. And since the cost of installation has come down sharply in the last year or so, any installation will pay for itself in less than 10 years - an amazing return on investment by today's standards.
Speaking after the landmark event, Ed Glasson said, "Priestwood, like many other Community Centres, had faced massive increases in energy bills over recent years. The savings the panels would generate, together with those arising from installation of double glazing throughout the Centre by BFC earlier this year, would significantly improve the Centre's long term sustainability."
Tricia Brown paid tribute to Centre Manager, Sharon Pottinger, for putting up with all the disruption over the past year caused by installation work at what she regarded as her 'second home' and still doing an outstanding job for the many groups who regularly use the Centre, and to Steven Milne and his colleagues at BFC for all their hard work in making this green project happen.