In February 2020, the Farmborough Community Shop Management Committee made the decision to launch an initiative to improve the energy efficiency of the shop, raising the funds needed through community pledges and grant applications.
The aims were to replace inefficient electrical equipment alongside the installation of 14 solar photovoltaic (solar PV) panels. The total investment needed was in excess of £6,000, which would save the shop at least £500 per year. To maximise the saving, the solar PV panels needed to be fitted before the end of March to qualify for preferential Feed-in Tariff (FIT) electricity rates.
The full cost of the project was achieved within weeks of the initiative’s launch, including a grant of £2700 from The Naturesave Trust towards the cost of the solar PV installation, which was installed mid-March, one week before lockdown.
A comparison of energy use between 2019 and 2020 for the six months from April to September has shown a reduction of 3311kWh, which equates to a saving of £511 to the shop and a reduction in the amount of CO2 totalling 117kg.
Phil Gray, Treasurer to Farmborough Community Shop said, “The installation of the solar PV panels, funded through a combination of grant funding from The Naturesave Trust and community pledges, has surpassed our expectations. Our original calculations indicated that we would reduce our annual electricity bill by £550, but the operational figures show that the panels have exceeded this in just over six months of use.
“Farmborough Community Shop is currently using 80% of the total energy being produced by the panels, and this is saving us money which can be spent in other areas of our business and increasing community support. A significant reduction in CO2 is also something we are proud to have achieved, making our business more environmentally sustainable.”
The community shop has been an important hub of the village since 2018, but 2020 has seen a greater need for its services, with over 500 home deliveries made to local vulnerable and shielding villagers throughout the Covid crisis.
The Naturesave Trust is funded by the activities of Naturesave Insurance, the UK’s leading ethical insurance provider for individuals, businesses, charities and community groups.