Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has installed its first solar panel system which will generate electricity and help to cut utility costs for the service in the future.
Twenty four solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed on one of the service's fire stations; Newcastle North Community Fire Station in Gosforth. The station was chosen due to its south facing roof.
The solar panels, worth approximately £19,000, were supplied and funded by the North East Improvement Efficiency Partnership (NEIEP), one of nine Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships.
The PV panels produce electricity during daylight hours which means that Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will not need to use as much electricity from the national grid. The installation of the PV panels will save Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service in the region of £2,000 per annum equating to around 9% of the annual energy bill for the station. They will need very little maintenance, they are silent and will not emit any green house gases. By installing solar PV, the Service will reduce its carbon emissions and assist achieving its goal of reducing its carbon footprint.
Station Manager Martin McConnell, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to reduce our carbon footprint and to demonstrate the service's commitment to reducing the amount of energy we use. As a public service, it is vitally important that we play our part in implementing real and effective measures to cut our operating costs, and by contributing to the production of our own energy, we are ideally placed as a model for others to follow suit. The solar panels provide visible evidence of the drive to enforce our carbon emissions reduction strategy."
David Bilclough, Chairman, from installation contractors John N Dunn Group Ltd said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to install Solar PV for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service at Newcastle North Community Fire Station. It means that the service will be able to harness the power of daylight to provide power to the station all year round and it will help to reduce their carbon emissions."
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