Missed opportunities for solar energy

Waste not, want not
Waste not, want not
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Peter Hurworth of Gosport and Fareham Friends of the Earth recommends the installation of solar panels to tackle climate change.

The News has shown a continuing interest in the subject of renewable (non-polluting) energy sources.

Norman Pasley recently contributed a thoughtful article on the back of Fareham Borough Council’s failure to incorporate solar panels in the Holly Hill Leisure Centre.

Cllr Woodward’s reaction that, ‘Like Friends of the Earth, the council is a strong advocate of sustainable energy sources and has used solar panels on buildings where it is appropriate’, begs the question, when is it not appropriate?

Why have there been, and why do there continue to be, so many missed opportunities for capitalising the free energy source that traverses our skies every twenty-four hours?

The failure at Holly Hill is probably water under the bridge.

What possibly are not yet missed opportunities, are four projects announced in the March 2016 edition of Coastline, published by Gosport Borough Council.

It would be heartening to residents of Gosport if the Council could abide by the spirit of the Nottingham Declaration to which it subscribed in 2008, and consider insisting upon the installation of a generous spread of solar panels on the following four constructions: The redeveloped bus station (phase 2 of the proposed Waterfront development), Premier Inn extension at Gosport Leisure Park, St Vincent Road’s new council houses and the Expanded Huhtamaki Fareham Road factory.

The proliferation of the installation of solar panels has taken a severe hit since the Government’s recent limitations on the feed-in tariff, but this should not reduce the community’s commitment to tackling the dreadful prospect of climate change with whatever weapons come to hand.

Roof-mounted solar panels constitute the readiest, easiest, and least controversial of those tools, and despite the Government’s incomprehensible change of attitude, solar panels still make good economic sense.

The good practice displayed by Gosport in its efforts to improve energy efficiency in its properties is commendable, but it presupposes a fossil fuel-based energy system whose shortcomings can be tackled only by ‘plugging the gaps’.

The fault lies, as we all know (if we’re honest), with our deeply ingrained addiction to squandering a million years worth of fossilised sunshine in a trip to the supermarket.

I’d like to draw the reader’s attention to a concept promulgated by the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Its ‘Zero Carbon Britain’ is more than just a strategy; it’s an entire philosophy which, while it cannot put the atmospheric carbon back into the ground, could guide us to a future that is stable and less threatening than the frightening prospect at present before us.

Gosport Borough Council cannot change the entire philosophy upon which our society is based, but it can espouse wholeheartedly some of the practical measures that would mitigate the worst effects of our two-hundred-year-old conduct.

And so could Fareham Borough Council.