Get behind us, say solar quest villagers

A VILLAGE bidding to go green is appealing to everyone to support them in their solar panel quest.

Belford Energy Saving Together (BEST) is competing to win funding from the energyshare scheme which supports community-led, renewable energy projects.

The group, which is bidding for around £100,000 to put solar panels on schools, churches and public buildings in the village, has already made it through to the shortlist of 100 groups.

Tomorrow is the deadline for full applications to make it through to a final public vote for around ten groups.

And the group, which is now hovering around the top ten of most supported groups, has had a boost with written expressions of support from Sir Alan Beith MP, North East MEP Fiona Hall, leader of Northumberland County Council Jeff Reid and several county councillors.

BEST was also the featured group on the energyshare website at one point, in large part thanks to a video that was produced by pupils at St Mary’s C of E Middle School, one of those involved in the bid.

BEST secretary Nicci Forshaw said: “We are working hard and all of the buildings have submitted applications for planning approval which we hope will have a favourable outcome.

“We are in with a real chance of getting into the top ten and then being in the public vote, but still need more online supporters to compete with bigger towns and cities around the country.

“Ultimately it will only be those registered on the energyshare website who will be able to vote.”

Each building is seeking funding for between 10 and 29 panels, for a total of 113 panels in the village and together they will generate 20,382.93 kWh a year and save 10,774kg of CO2, offsetting the equivalent of 6,000 boiled kettles a year.

This would potentially bring into Belford approximately £10,000 a year in Feed-In Tariff payments, and energy bill savings, for the 25-year life of the panels.

Nicci said: “This will benefit the whole community as the involved organisations serve all population groups and will use the money gained to support their service provision in tough financial times with increasing energy costs, as well as to continue to promote energy saving and generating. We need a random act of kindness from people with an email address who think our project is worth supporting. It doesn’t matter where they live.”

To sign up as a supporter go to www.energyshare.com/best