Energy & Recycling

Published: June 1, 2020 | Updated: June 1, 2020

Power your business – and save on energy bills – with grants of up to 40 per cent available

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Businesses are being urged to access grants from Low Carbon Dorset and invest in renewable energy.

Grants of up to 40 per cent of project costs are available, depending on the project and organisation, with the maximum grant set at £100,000.

So far Low Carbon Dorset has awarded 70 grants, totalling £1.9m, to help fund low carbon projects in Dorset.

The latest projects involve two very different businesses – Print Team (Dorset) Ltd in Portland and Christchurch-based Groveley Precision Engineering.

Both took advantage of grants from Low Carbon Dorset to generate their own electricity by installing roof-mounted solar PV equipment, reducing their energy bills and their carbon footprint in the process.

With up to 40 per cent of the costs covered, pay-back on the investment is expected in three years while they will pay around 5p per kWh for electricity for the next 25 years.

Print Team’s 10.2kWp project involved installing 30 panels on the roof of its Mereside premises on the Navigator Business Park at the end of January.

To date the panels have generated over 4,500kWh, providing more than half the site’s electricity demand.

The 28kWp project at Groveley Precision Engineering in Groveley Road involves installing 66 panels later this month (June).

Once installed, they will provide around a fifth of the site’s electricity requirements.

Renewable energy specialists CleanEarth is behind both installations.

The Cornwall-based company has completed hundreds of projects across the south west over the last ten years.

It is in discussion with about ten Dorset businesses about further installations.

Ed Lennon, Commercial Manager, pictured left, said that as one of the sunniest counties, Dorset is ideal for solar generation.

The last few weeks have seen records tumble, with solar accounting for almost 30 per cent of UK electricity demand at its peak in April.

Meanwhile the business case for solar power is closely aligned with the environmental need to reduce carbon emissions.

Ed added: “It makes economic sense because Groveley Precision Engineering will use almost all of the power themselves and the system will provide 20 per cent of their electricity at a cost well below the national grid.

“At the same time, they’ll prevent some ten tonnes of carbon a year from entering the atmosphere.

“The urgent need to reduce our emissions is painfully clear.

“This is another small but important step towards net zero.”

Low Carbon Dorset is a three-year programme of activities to help stimulate growth in Dorset’s low carbon economy and reduce its carbon footprint.

Work underway on another CleanEarth solar panel installation.

The programme offers free technical support and grant funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to businesses, public-sector and community organisations in Dorset.

It aims to help improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy and aid the development of new low carbon products.

The programme is led by Dorset Council and the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is  funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The programme is now in its final year but has recently bid for additional funds from ERDF to extend the programme by a further two years.

It is hoping to hear in July whether the bid has been successful.

Under the current timeline projects need to be completed by December of this year in order to eligible for funding.

Any organisations interested in applying for support can do so via Low Carbon Dorset’s website: https://www.lowcarbondorset.org.uk/apply.

Dr Derek Moss, Low Carbon Dorset’s Renewable Energy Technical Officer, pictured left with Katie Dawes, Communications & Engagement Officer, said: “Whilst all the subsidies are gone, solar PV prices have dropped considerably.

“With a grant from Low Carbon Dorset, companies with high electricity demands can get better returns now than at the height of the subsidies.

“We’ve seen many systems with return on investment (ROI) of 25 per cent to 33 per cent.

“There is a good business case, as well as the obvious environmental argument.”