Energy Efficiency Week – Working to Improve Residential Renewable Energy

Francesca Baylis, Sustainable Business Team, Kent County Council
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Francesca Baylis, Sustainable Business Team, Kent County Council

This week is Energy Efficiency Week! Have a read of our Blog from Francesca at the Sustainable Business Team, working to implement Kent’s Environment Strategy.

With the global climate change strikes fresh in our memories, many of us are starting to think more about how we can reduce our own impact on the environment. Small changes, like using the car less, reducing food waste and turning the central heating down a degree or two can all help, but an increasingly popular action is to install renewable energy, such as solar panels. Solar photovoltaic energy works by capturing the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity to be used in your home. This is great on sunny days, but at night when the sun’s not shining, electricity must be taken from the national grid. Until now…

Increasingly, batteries are being installed alongside solar panels so that the sun’s energy can be stored during daylight hours for use later in the day. To test how this works in real homes and to understand how residents use energy, Kent County Council has been working with Dartford, Dover and Gravesham councils to install solar panels with a battery storage system in ten homes in Kent.

The residents also received energy management systems – these are like smart meters, but they also track the amount of energy generated as well as used, which allows them to track their energy usage and financial savings. So far, the residents have reported that the system helps them to think about how they’re using their energy and make small changes to reduce their usage. These systems will also let us monitor the benefits of the solar panels combined with battery storage over the next two years, both for carbon reduction and cost savings. Since April, the residents have already saved over 4 tonnes of carbon and a combined £1,400 on their electricity bills, with better results seen in spring and summer than in winter. As more time passes there will be more data available and we will better understand the best ways to use solar panels with battery storage.

In the meantime, keep an eye out on our Kent Green Action at Home packs going out to all libraries with information on renewable energy, energy efficiency, green actions and biodiversity. KCC will also be running pop ups in libraries from October 21st, touring the main libraries for each district.

To keep up to date with Kent County Council’s environmental actions, you can follow them on twitter @KES_Kent

For other information on renewable energy please see the Energy Saving Trust website.

This Project is funded by Triple A,  European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF)

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