Energy & Recycling

100-year-old Wimborne independent electronics store goes solar

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: April 17, 2024 | Updated: 17th April 2024

A Wimborne electronics store is turning to solar energy to power its hundreds of domestic appliances, televisions and home cinemas.

Dacombes of Wimborne, a family business founded in the 1920s, has been working in conjunction with Low Carbon Dorset, a green grant initiative for businesses run by Dorset Council.

Matt Renaut, managing director of Dacombes explained: “With air-conditioning, lighting, TVs and displays, our electricity drain equated to having three kettles boiling all day long. I used to have to sit down before opening our monthly electricity bill. The increase in the last few years has been alarming!”

With further energy price hikes on the horizon. Matt applied for a grant via Low Carbon Dorset, a process that took five months from grant application to completion.

Steven Ford, Dorset Council’s Corporate Director for Strategy, Performance and Sustainability, said: “Officers from our Low Carbon Dorset programme have worked closely with the team at Dacombes to help them make significant strides in reducing their environmental impact and boosting their energy efficiency.

“Free technical advice and a grant from the programme has helped Dacombes install green measures which are expected to significantly reduce their carbon footprint, lower their energy bills, and support future green initiatives.”

Ringwood-based Empower Energy has fitted a 41kw system made up of 99 solar panels, in an array which it designed and will perform ongoing maintenance on.

Mark Wingrove, Business Development Manager for Empower Energy said: “This was a complex project utilising five roof elevations.”

But the challenge was certainly worth it. Matt Renaut commented: “Even in the poor weather we’re experiencing now, we’re still generating enough energy during the day to power our store during its opening hours.

Mark Wingrove added; “Unlike domestic energy users, there’s no price cap protection for commercial organisations, so managing the soaring costs of energy bills with no idea of what the industry is going to do is a huge strain on cashflow.

“Dacombes is now enjoying independence from the grid, in control of its own usage and costs alongside helping to reduce their environmental impact.”

In addition to the solar panels, Dacombes now has two EV van chargers and a Tesla battery. It also uses a heat pump for all heating and cooling along with energy-efficient lighting and equipment.

Matt Renaut said: “Phase 2 of our green energy initiative is to eventually have electric delivery vehicles so we can reduce our carbon footprint further. I’m proud that we’re on our way to running an eco-friendly business.”

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