Another step to Solar Swindon

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

A REPORT has been produced outlining the feasibility of several solar projects which will help Swindon take a step towards its renewable energy goals.

Last year, a cross-party task group was established to examine the possibility of setting up a solar sound barrier along the A419 and the M4.

The group has now reported back outlining the benefits of the scheme and recommending they are moved forward.

If it gets the go ahead, the A419 barrier will stretch 1.7 kilometres down the west side of the road and 2 kilometres down the east. It is estimated to cost in the region of £3.2 million to construct but will generate £140,000 a year in power meaning within 25 years it will have generated £3.5 million.

On top of that, within the Covingham area around 200 homes have been identified which are currently hit by more than 60 decibels of noise from the A419. “These homes could be protected by the barrier, which would be 3 metres high.”

The second barrier could be built in conjunction with the Wichelstowe project. The exact details are yet to be ironed out but the group reported back saying it would cost in the region of £11 million but would produce £1.5 million per year, thereby paying its cost off at a much faster rate.

Coun Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Dorcan) the cabinet member for strategic planning said: “For six months, a cross political party task group has been working up the plans for a solar panel based sound barrier along the A419 and M4, and the results are in. Many people were understandably cynical about the idea of a solar sound barrier along the A419 because of the roads orientation but we can demonstrate our approach is viable and could have positive implications for towns and villages across the UK.

“The A419 work has demonstrated that an M4 East Wichel solar sound barrier can work as a commercial project.”

The move towards a solar powered town has been supported by all parties in the council.

Coun Mark Dempsey, (Lab, Walcot and Park North), said: “We believe in an ambitious strategy to create a Solar Swindon. “The council has a great opportunity to establish new solar schemes across Swindon providing residents with low cost energy and helping to grow the green economy.

“We support a solar barrier on the A419 but it is clear that a solar barrier on the M4 will be much more effective given that the solar barrier would be south facing. “It would be a clear symbol of a ‘solar Swindon’ and help attract new businesses to our town.”

Comments (6)

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8:39pm Thu 17 Apr 14

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Quote "It is estimated to cost in the region of £3.2 million to construct but will generate £140,000 a year in power meaning within 25 years it will have generated £3.5 million"

So a profit of 300,000 over 25 years. Does that also factor in the cost of the loan to pay for it or can the council reach down the back of the sofa.

I reckon the banks would give a better rate of return just in interest than those solar panels.
Quote "It is estimated to cost in the region of £3.2 million to construct but will generate £140,000 a year in power meaning within 25 years it will have generated £3.5 million" So a profit of 300,000 over 25 years. Does that also factor in the cost of the loan to pay for it or can the council reach down the back of the sofa. I reckon the banks would give a better rate of return just in interest than those solar panels. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 2

9:54pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Noah's Ark says...

But it faces east. Solar needs to face south
But it faces east. Solar needs to face south Noah's Ark
  • Score: 0

9:55pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Noah's Ark says...

Shhh do not tell Swindon's Councillors but the sun rises in the east and sets in the west in the Northern Hemisphere
Shhh do not tell Swindon's Councillors but the sun rises in the east and sets in the west in the Northern Hemisphere Noah's Ark
  • Score: 0

9:56pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Noah's Ark says...

Politicians have never been good a mathe
Politicians have never been good a mathe Noah's Ark
  • Score: 0

9:57pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Noah's Ark says...

Sorry maths
Sorry maths Noah's Ark
  • Score: 0

10:02pm Thu 17 Apr 14

John~R says...

It's close to chucking money down the drain: £3.2M in the bank earning 2% interest compounded becomes over £5M after 25 years. And if the money is put into an investment returning 5% per year then it's worth over £10M after 25 years.

One reason why the country is recovering from a financial mess is that too much money was spent on implementing politicians' fantasies that were good ways of spending money but haven't given the benefits that the money could have provided if spent more prudently.
It's close to chucking money down the drain: £3.2M in the bank earning 2% interest compounded becomes over £5M after 25 years. And if the money is put into an investment returning 5% per year then it's worth over £10M after 25 years. One reason why the country is recovering from a financial mess is that too much money was spent on implementing politicians' fantasies that were good ways of spending money but haven't given the benefits that the money could have provided if spent more prudently. John~R
  • Score: 3

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