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Support for solar hot water in Warwick

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 May 2009 at 10:18 am

Doubling the number of solar hot water systems installed homes in Warwick District is the aim of a great new project to support homeowners. The Solar 300 Challenge was launched last week by Action 21, a social enterprise which helps people live more sustainably.

Their aim is to encourage more people to harness the power of the sun by simplifying the process, reducing the cost, and selecting a trustworthy installer. By building partnerships with other local organisations they plan to double the number of installations in the Warwick District to 600.

Action 21 launched a Renewable Energy Club in 2007, and it already has around 280 members. It meets once a month to increase understanding of renewable energy technologies, and to raise awareness and acceptance of them in the community. Members of the group have been among the first to sign up to the Solar 300 Challenge.

Anyone interested in the scheme (and living in the area) can download a form from Action 21’s website. You are then sent a questionnaire to make sure your house is suitable, and Action 21 will work with you to find a cluster of 6 to 8 people nearby who also want solar water heating. By doing the initial scoping and by bunching installations together, Action 21 has negotiated a reduced installation cost from local supplier Eco2solar.

If finance is a problem, they can help there too. They have teamed up with South Warwickshire Credit Union which can offer loans for the installation. Monthly repayments can be as little as £60 - £70 per month over four years.

Of course, it’s worth making sure that your house is as energy efficient as possible before investing in generating heat or power, and Action 21 have thought about this too. They can help you find affordable loft or cavity wall insulation, and local firm (and YouGen energy experts) Encraft can carry out a comprehensive household energy survey for £250.

This is just the sort of community-based support scheme that we need many more of. We hope that other organisations and groups will be inspired to follow suit. And if there’s a similar project in your area let us know so we can help raise awareness of it.

photo © Timothy Large, iStockphoto


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