We want to turn our beloved community centre solar-powered, and we need your help! A solar power system will significantly reduce our carbon footprint, making us much more enviornmentally friendly. But that's not all - solar power will also bring huge financial benefits, helping to secure our future in the years ahead.
How YOU Can Help
1. Vote for us in the 2017 M&S Energy Fund to bring clean solar power to our community centre. If we get the most votes in our region then we will be installing a 7.84kWp solar power system on our roof. You can cast your vote at www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/silver-road-community-centre
2. Donate to our Crowdfund. If we reach our target of £8,500 we will install a battery storage system alongside our new panels, to help us make the most of our new energy resource.
Silver Road Community Centre is a vital and buzzing part of the Sewell area of Norwich. It provides an affordable quality space to hire for a wide variety of events and is the home to a huge range of groups and classes, many of which focus on personal development (such as yoga, martial arts, and parent and baby groups). The centre plays an important role in reducing isolation in the local area - helping to bind the community, and breaking down barriers between social groups.
Silver Road Community Centre also provides work experience opportunities for local people from organisations like City College Norwich and the learning disability charity Stepping Stones.
A solar power system will hugely reduce the environmental impact of our centre, and give us a much lower carbon footprint. In addition to this, the income generated from the Feed-in-Tariff, combined with the savings on our electricity bills, will make us much more economically sustainable too. This system will help to keep our running costs low for years to come, ensuring the centre remains an affordable asset for the community. These lower costs will also make other improvements to the site more feasible.
Sewell Ward, where the community centre is based, is an area of Norwich that has some of the highest percentages of homes in fuel poverty. A PV system at the community centre will highlight the potential of affordable renewable energy to this vulnerable community.
The proposed solar system is predicted to save over 3,200kg of carbon dioxide emissions every year - that's 80 tons over the 25 year-warranty period of the panels (though they are expected to last much longer than that)! But what does that mean financially?
Between both the Feed-in-Tariff and the savings on our electricity bills, we are estimated to be approximately £1000 better-off in our first year. And over the 20 year period that the Feed-in-Tariff lasts this will work out at over £25,000 cumulatively (as the tariff is linked to the Retail Price Index).
N.B. The above graph is based only on installation of the proposed solar power system - if we raise the money to install the battery as well then the savings will be even greater.
We are proposing to install 24 x Sunpower 327 Watt solar panels on the southerly aspect of our main roof. To convert this into usable electricity we will also need an inverter - we have chosen the Fronius Symo. These are industry-leading products with fantastic warranties (25 years for the panels and 5 years for the inverter), giving peace of mind and confidence for our centre.
If we succeed in getting the M&S funding and reaching our target of £8,500 then we will be installing a 14kWh battery storage system at the centre together with the solar power system. This will enable us to keep the excess energy that we generate when the sun is shining, instead of exporting it straight into the grid, and then using it when the sun is down - this will further reduce our energy costs and our carbon footprint. We expect to be one of the first community centres in the country to be using this exciting new technology.
In the event that we do not get enough votes to get the M&S grant but we do reach our target of £8,500, then that money will go towards the solar power system instead of an energy storage system (but don't worry, we will seek other funding to bring energy storage to the centre!).
We have chosen RenEnergy, a local renewable energy company based in Blofield, to carry out the proposed installation. They have shown a great commitment to community projects, and have been very helpful in advising us on a system.
Please see the reward panel for full details of the goodies on offer in our Crowdfunder...but here are a few images to whet your apetites!
Testimonials for Silver Road Community Centre
"Fantastic facility for the community. The community saved it and are using it." Kristopher Harper
"When venues are closing all over, how refreshing that SRCC has saved this wonderful old hall for the community. We are very glad and proud to hold our classes there!" Shih-fu Symonds
"I have been teaching in the Silver Road Community Centre for over a year and feel that it is such a valuable resource for the local area and is so well used...the improvement that solar panels would give would be appreciated by many people." Jane Sheehan
"An excellent community centre bringing the local community together." Samual Craig