Solar panels to be installed on roofs of Hastings businesses

Hastings council leaders have given the go ahead to plans to install solar panels on the roofs of local businesses.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 2:35 pm
Solar panel roof

On Monday (November 1), Hastings Borough Council’s cabinet authorised plans to spend up to £1.638 million on the authority’s Solar for Business programme. This funding was first agreed by cabinet in 2017.

The programme would see the council pay for the installation of solar panels on the roofs of local businesses and then offer to sell the power generated back to them. 

According to council leaders, the programme is primarily intended to reduce carbon emissions within the town, but would also generate income for the council and save businesses money on their electricity bill.

Speaking at the meeting, cabinet member for environment Maya Evans said: “Unlike the G20 who are failing to take basic and practical steps such as phasing out dirty coal plants, we are moving towards renewables while taking local businesses with us.

“The Solar for Business project is a reflection of our commitment at the council to think globally and act locally. It is a reflection of our aim to reach zero net carbon by 2030.

“It is a reflection of the council’s desire to support businesses by both reducing their carbon footprints and saving money on bills, which is especially timely with the increase of energy bill prices.”

She added: “I suspect we will be disappointed by the outcomes of COP26, which is why it is so important for humble councils such as ours to keep plodding on.

“We will continue to take every opportunity possible, stepping up to our global responsibilities of playing our role at home. 

“Thinking about the global consequences of climate change is overwhelming, however taking tangible steps within our own town offers hope in the dark.” 

Cllr Evans went on to say the council had already undertaken a desktop survey to identify buildings which could potentially accommodate the panels.  

Cabinet member for finance Peter Chowney said: “We will be approaching those businesses to offer them an offer they can’t refuse, I suppose. One that generates us a bit of income, but also we will be able to sell the electricity back to them more cheaply than they could buy it without the cost to them of the panels.

“It is one where everyone wins really. We make a bit of money out of it. Not very much, but that is not the main purpose of it. The businesses get their electricity cheaper, which is good obviously for businesses in Hastings and regeneration and also we reduce Hastings’ carbon footprint by reducing the carbon footprint of those businesses.

“This is part of the whole ethos of thinking globally and acting locally. Sustainable energy generation is going to be important right across the planet if we are going to tackle the climate crisis. 

“Even though what we do here in Hastings is obviously just a tiny little bit of it, that is how it is achieved. By everyone, every council and every local authority in world doing their own tiny little bit.”