Often titled 'Community Energy' in greening campaigns, we've gone for a broader title. Whilst there are some fine examples of Community Energy projects, these tend to be in much larger settlements with commercial demand for large amounts of electricity during the day. So far our research has shown that without this demand a community project is unlikely to be viable as the export tariff to the grid is insufficient to justify the capital cost.
However, energy is a vital part of the campaign and of interest to many. In the following sections we intend to provide some useful and impartial information and local case studies.
Replacing oil fired boilers
The practical alternatives in Hambledon are limited to some form of electrical heating, either modern night storage heaters or heat pumps. There are examples of both in the village and case studies are included on the Case Study page above.
Electric heating had a reputation for being expensive to run, but cheap to install. However, with heat pumps (air source or ground source) the opposite is true, and it is certainly challenging to install them in old houses.
We still have more research to do on heat pumps and hopefully those in the village who have them already will provide us with some 'real world' numbers. Initial thoughts are they are cheaper to run than oil fired boilers but significantly more expensive to install. The capital cost gap is unlikely to be bridged by the new Clean Heat Grant which starts in April 2022, even assuming you can get hold of the limited amount of grants on offer. However it does have the benefit that it is paid at the time of installation rather than over seven years. Cheaper running costs will mean less exposure to future energy price rises.
The current RHI may be a better option than waiting for the new Clean Heat Grant, particularly for large installations. See below for details. With the rapidly changing prices of oil and electricity, the variation in equipment prices and the uncertainty over grants, each installation will have to be judged on its own merits at the time of purchase. However we hope to provide information and case studies to make this easier. Click the button below to find out more:
Solar photovoltaic panels
We have more research to do here but click the blue button below to see an independent overview:
For local advice you could contact Covers (Builders Merchants) of Chichester. They have one of the largest Eco showrooms in the south of England. Click the blue button to see their range of products.