THE leader of Fareham Borough Council has announced plans to make money – out of the sun’s energy.
Cllr Sean Woodward wants to spend £120,000 installing solar panels at four buildings across the borough.
This includes the civic offices in the town centre, the council’s depot in Wallington and two sheltered housing buildings – Downing Court in Titchfield Common and Barnfield Court in Fareham South.
Every unit of electricity generated will earn the council money, with it receiving the rate of 21.5p per kilowatt hour from an energy supplier.
The council expects to have paid off the cost of the panels within 12 years.
Councillor Woodward, said: ‘It’s an example that we are setting. I believe that it is a good deal and represents good value for our residents.
‘We would encourage residents to do the same.
‘This is electricity that we don’t have to purchase. We are making use of the council facilities.’
As well as saving money, the solar panels are also part of the council’s plan to reduce the carbon footprint of the borough.
‘For those that think there might be some benefits, that’s good too,’ added Cllr Woodward.
‘You’re generating less carbon dioxide because you are generating from the sunshine rather than fossil fuels. It represents very good value for money and it’s well worth doing.
‘If we can generate our own power that’s something which is very good to do.
‘Even on a cloudy day we are still generating electricity.’
It comes as a £3.4m scheme to install solar panels on Hampshire County Council’s buildings was scrapped last month due to the slashing in government subsidies, although the High Court subsequently ruled that the cuts were legally flawed.
Councillor Jim Forrest, leader of the Lib Dems, said he agreed with the solar panel plan, adding: ‘We have always felt that in Fareham we should make as much use as possible of solar energy.
‘This part of the south coast has a higher number of sunshine hours on average than most of the country.
‘We have got a lot of buildings in Fareham that will benefit from it.’
The plans have to be approved by councillors at a planning meeting, though it’s not known when that will be.