Councilor Cadogan Enright organized a public meeting in the Ballyhornan Family Centre last week, attended by a range of community organisations and individuals on the economic benefits to be gained from having photovoltaic cells on your roof.
Cllr Enright said “my initial motivation in organizing this meeting is to ensure an on-going source of income for the Ballyhornan Family Centre. It is clear from the presentation that the Family Centre could rent out its roof in exchange for free electricity, or even provide itself with a significant income if we could find the cash to install our own PV system based on the new incentives. I am following up on this with Noel and Patricia Curran who manage the Centre.”
Robert McNeil of Amber Green Energy who made the main presentation said “there are opportunities for the Family Centre, Local famers and home owners arising from these new incentives. We will be following up interest expressed at the meeting by different groups and individuals.”
Ballyhornan Task Force committee member John McGreevey said “This appears to be a fantastic way to help secure the financial viability of the Family Centre going forward”.
Down District Farmers For Renewable Energy (DDFFRE) sponsored the meeting and had members also in attendance. This UFU-backed organization seeks to assist local farmers in diversifying into renewable energy. Spokesperson Michael Trainor said “It was clear from the figures presented at the meeting that the latest PV schemes offer a viable alternative to farmers who are unable to secure planning for a wind-turbine, with the top rate incentive of 4 ROCs applicable. Energy can also be used on the farm or exported to the grid. You can even graze sheep under them if you want them on the ground rather than on a roof. The route to planning appears a lot less complicated than with a wind turbine”.
Cllr Enright said, “PV also works for private homes and working families, this is better than money saved in a bank, ISA or even a pension. In the bank or building society you might get a 3% return per annum if you were lucky. A return of 14% or more per annum is realistic if you have a South-facing roof.”
“The population of this area collectively spend millions of pounds a year on imported oil, gas and electricity, paying big duty taxes to Westminster. Renewable energy keeps this money in the local community.” Concluded Cllr Enright