Negotiating a site

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Energy Alton chose to install solar PV on their local town library. This involved 12 months of negotiation with Hampshire County Council, Yes Energy Solutions (the provider of the solar PV system) and the planning authorities. Apart from an ideal location to maximise the performance of the solar PV, the library was chosen because it is an educational hub, ideally placed to demonstrate the benefits of locally produced renewable energy. Energy Alton lobbied county council members and staff to support the idea of solar panels on the modern library building. Support was given for them to talk directly to estates staff to negotiate a ‘roof agreement’. This was done over 3 months. Energy Alton realised there were drawbacks to owning the solar panels themselves, so they changed tack and decided to gift the panels to the council to reduce a number of operational risks. They negotiated and signed a Memorandum of Agreement that tied Hampshire County Council and Energy Alton together for 15 years. As a direct result, 40 solar panels were installed on the town library which went ‘live’ in October 2013. Under the agreement the parties share the income from the payments under the Feed in Tariff for 15 years and Hampshire Country Council gets free electricity for over 25 years.