Reigate council solar energy scheme 'to save cash'

image captionCouncillors will consider the solar energy plan at a meeting on Thursday

A plan to install solar energy panels on two Reigate council buildings is set to save money and reduce carbon emissions, a councillor has said.

Councillor Julian Ellacott said the solar panels could generate electricity worth hundreds of thousands of pounds over their 25-year lifespan.

The scheme, which would cost £230,000, is being considered by the council executive on Thursday evening.

The panels would be on a depot at Earlswood and Horley Leisure Centre.

Environment spokesman Mr Ellacott has said the scheme represented a real investment opportunity for the council which was "rare in these difficult financial times".

'Better return'

He said income would come from savings on electricity bills and from selling surplus energy to the National Grid.

Income would also come from the government's "feed-in tariff" scheme which provides payments over the next 25 years for electricity generated by solar energy.

A council report said the authority had been approached by private companies wishing to install their own panels on council roofs to profit from the policy, but analysis had shown the council would get a better return by investing in its own scheme.

Mr Ellacott said the panels would also contribute to the council's goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by 2014.

If the plans are approved, the solar panels would be installed early next year.

The council executive will consider the plans at a meeting on Thursday evening. Members have been recommended to agree the £230,000 funding.

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