Council's solar panels plan approved

Solar panels can now be fitted to the roof of a public toilet and will pay for themselves in less than two years, after grant funding was approved.

Solar panels can now be fitted to the roof of the public toilets
Solar panels can now be fitted to the roof of the public toilets

Wellington Town Council applied for a £5,000 slice of the Telford and Wrekin Climate Change Fund and agreed to the £2,130 remaining cost itself.

Earlier this year Councillor Anthony Lowe – who, at the time, chaired the Climate Emergency Working Group – told the Policy and Resources Committee the proposed panels would generate 6,000 kilowatt-hours a year, more than halving the toilet’s heating and lighting bill and saving the town council £1,456 annually.

At this month’s meeting, committee chairman Stephen DeLauney confirmed Telford and Wrekin Council had approved the grant application and provided the money.

“Through electricity savings this investment will have paid for itself within 18 months and is a great example of Wellington Town Council supporting the climate change emergency initiative,” meeting minutes say.

Cllr Lowe told the April meeting that, between March 2019 and February 2020, the toilets – which are yards from the town’s bus and railway stations – used 11,230kw/h of electricity.

He noted that this was pre-coronavirus and when the town council still employed on-site attendants.

Full-time attendants were abolished in summer 2020, and the facility was closed altogether for part of 2020, leading a “much lower” total of 8,425kw/h for the same period the following year, Cllr Lowe said.

He added that an estimated had shown 20 panels could be placed on the roof “generating just shy of 6,000kw/h per annum, and 100 per cent of that would be used for that building’s heating and lighting”.

In their September meeting, the committee also discussed cleaning arrangements at the facility.

Since full-time attendants were abolished, Healthmatic Ltd had been awarded a 12-month contract to provide cleaners who visit three times daily.

This was due to finish on July 31 this year, the minutes say, but that was being extended month-by-month, pending a longer-term decision by councillors.

“The company were now offering a three-year contract with three cleaning visits per day,” the minutes say.

“Members voted unanimously in favour.”

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