We at Findhorn Wind Park (the company which owns and operates the wind turbines at The Park) have been exploring various options for installing solar (or PV, for photovoltaic) panels for the purposes of electricity generation. The need for this has increased as Moya, our 75kW turbine installed in 1989, has suffered a serious mechanical problem and will have to be decommissioned.
A project we have just completed is the erection of PV panels, on roofs that do not already have them, at East Whins. These panels will produce electricity that can be used in the homes concerned at a much-reduced cost to the home owners and occupants. FWP has paid for the capital cost of the installation and will recover this outlay through the export of surplus electricity and the associated ‘Feed in Tariff’ (or FiTs) that renewable energy generation projects currently receive.
The advantage of this site is that the roofs are all very similar and it should be relatively easy to calculate the costs and benefits. FWP is not seeking to maximise its profits from this venture but to generate renewable energy; to contribute to the support of the community financially, educationally and in the achievement of our sustainability agendas; to pay a fair return to its investors sufficient to obtain and retain the capital it requires; to improve the efficient use of energy; to engage the community in issues relating to climate change, energy and practical local solutions; and to engage in community development and cohesion.
If this project is successful we had hoped to expand PV elsewhere at The Park. However, it is possible that the UK government will phase out the FiTs soon, so we may not get the chance to roll out this experiment any further.