Powered by the sun

Wolvercote village hall has become one of the first community buildings in the county to be powered by the sun. Solar photovoltaic panels have been installed on the roof which will provide power for the hall.

Half of the £50,000 cost is was funded by a grant from the Government-sponsored Low Carbon Building Programme and the installation of the panels has also been made possible by grants from Oxford City Council’s north area committee, Oxfordshire County Council and the Waste Recycling Environmental Network, which distributes landfill tax cash.

Other money was raised by the Wolvercote Low Carbon Group and donations came from individuals living in the village.

The hi-tech kit, installed by London-based company JoJu is a 10-kilowatt system, made up of 60 Sharpe 170-watt panels that convert radiation into electricity. The panels cover 78.6 square metres and produce more than 8,000 kilowatts per year, more than the village hall uses.

When the building is not in use, the power generated will be fed back into the National Grid, hopefully creating revenue that will be used for further environmental improvements to the building.

The excess electricity will be sold in return for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) at 9.5p per unit, plus however much the electricty company will pay for it. The village hall will save 3.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Chairman of the hall’s management committee, Tim Metcalfe, said: “This project has been made possible by the efforts of groups and individuals in the village who have worked hard to help raise the cash to make our dream of a solar-powered hall a reality."