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Solar Panel statement in response to recent Devon Live story
Issued: 22 July 2022
South Hams District Council’s Leader, Cllr Judy Pearce, said: “I’d like to make it perfectly clear that the allegation the District Council wasted half a million pound on solar panels on our leisure Centres is completely unfounded.
“Very high energy consumption is common across leisure centres, particularly those with swimming pools. This solar project, which installs solar panels on the roof of our leisure centres, aims to build resilience and reduce exposure to increasing energy prices and will help decarbonise the centres.
“Fusion carried out a procurement process to get an installer for the solar panel installation work, which included Tresoc, but independently decided that the Tresoc offer did not meet the aims of the project for the reasons set out below.
“To maximise success, the solar panels will be installed, operated and maintained by Fusion. As such, virtually all of the power that is generated will be used directly within each centre.
“The involvement of a third party such as Tresoc whose aim to provide a profitable supply of energy to TRESOC’s members, will not meet our project’s purposes as successfully as directly buying, installing and managing the solar panels (photovoltaic (PV) arrays).
“Whilst Tresoc offers free initial panel installation, they would take their profit from an agreement with Fusion, which would pay for the panels and more, over the agreement term. Ultimately, any arrangement that provides a profit margin to a third party, in this case Tresoc, reduces the benefits of the project to the Council and Fusion. The early capital outlay for this project can be found without third party involvement.
“There are further benefits to the approach that the Council has taken. The Council own the buildings and lease them to Fusion. It is important that the solar panel ownership is treated in the same way, something not possible using the ‘free upfront’ investment model. There was also the requirement to work with one supplier, and of course, the Council has multiple leisure centres, three of which are not in Totnes.”