Technology: 4kW solar photovoltaic (PV) panels
Location: Eaglesham, East Renfrewshire
CARES funding: £4,021.71 capital grant
Date installed/operational: March 2021
Eaglesham Bowling Club was established in 1912 and has been an integral part of village life ever since. The club’s building, which the club has a long-term lease for, offers a space for people and families to relax whilst bowling and can be hired out for events.
The community has made several improvements to the building, including installing new toilets and ensuring there is suitable disabled access.
The club contacted Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support service (now Business Energy Scotland) for help to identify further improvements they could make to the building. An advisor carried out a detailed energy efficiency assessment.
Zero Waste Scotland provided a tailored report which recommended:
- installing LED lighting
- upgrading the boiler
- insulating the roof
- installing a 4kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array.
The report estimated that the benefit of installing these measures would be savings of £1,140 each year, with an overall payback of six and a half years, based on an estimated capital expenditure of £7,500. The changes would also result in carbon savings of 2.4 tonnes.
The club applied to the East Renfrewshire Renewable Energy Fund to replace the building’s 60-year-old tin roof. The roof was leaking and would have been unable to support a solar PV installation. To reduce costs, the club aimed to install roof insulation and the solar PV array at the same time as replacing the roof.
Project aims and objectives
The project’s aims were to reduce the club’s carbon footprint and to make savings on its energy bills so that it could reinvest funds in the local community. However, by making general building improvements the club would also provide a higher quality space for the community.
The club was aware of several other local groups that were interested in installing solar panels on their community buildings. It was keen to share its learnings to encourage further renewable installations in the local area, acting as a demonstrator.
In 2020 the club applied for funding from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). It received a capital grant of £4,021.71 towards the cost of the solar PV installation, which was 60% of the total costs. It was also successful in its application to the East Renfrewshire Renewable Energy Fund to replace the roof and 40% of costs towards the solar PV.
Outcomes and achievements
The new solar PV array was installed in March 2021.
The new solar panels are estimated to generate around 70,713 kWh and offset around 67,177 kWh over its lifetime (25 years), with carbon savings of 14 tonnes. The system is also expected to save the club around £13,261 in energy bills over 25 years.
The project is contributing towards the Scottish Government’s ambition to have 2GW of locally-owned energy by 2030 as outlined in the Scottish Energy Strategy, its vision for the future of the energy system in Scotland.
The project was managed and delivered by a steering group of the club’s board made up of people with experience of project management and managing contractors. The project was overseen by a committee including engineers, local councillors, builders, project managers and tax inspectors.
The club was supported by Local Energy Scotland’s local development officers throughout the project. The club found an installer after using the Microgeneration Certification Scheme register. It approached three installers for quotes and chose Eco Power to deliver a turn-key service to install the solar panels. The club steering group, which also used roofing contractors, successfully coordinated and managed the works between the multiple contractors.
Local Energy Scotland supported the club to get the required permissions for the project, which including planning permission and a building warrant. The club was able to make use of connect and notify (G98) rather than a full grid connection (G99) because of the scale of the solar PV system and the infrastructure at the site.
The club has since organised a focus group which plans to meet each year to review the building’s energy efficiency and reduce its energy use where it can. The club has also created a maintenance schedule and amended the building’s insurance policy to adequately insure the solar PV panels.
Bob Hume, the club’s Honorary Secretary, identified several lessons learned.
Bob said:” Obtaining planning and building warrant approval was a challenge because staff from East Renfrewshire’s planning department were working from home because of the pandemic.
“Our member and local councillor Jim McLean was very helpful in supporting our project with the planning application, obtaining quotes and with arranging site meetings with appointed contractors.” He adds that “you need to plan well in advance to carry out a project like ours.”
Bob says that so far “all our savings are going towards our energy bills. We have just changed to a different supplier, but our costs have increased by 400%, so our solar panels are helping towards this. Thanks to CARES for the grant to help us install the solar panels.”
Bob says that the club would be delighted to welcome anyone that wants to see the solar panels. Interested people should contact the club through the contact details noted on the Eaglesham Bowling Club Facebook page.
Published November 2022.