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Solar panels to power Glasgow Sheriff Court

23/06/2008

The roof of Glasgow Sheriff Court is now home to Scotland's largest solar panel generating system which will deliver 97kWp of electricity in optimum conditions.

When all the efficiency measures planned for the court are in place, solar power could provide around one fifth of the building's electricity demand.

The £500,000 solar panels cover some 700 m² of the court building roof and this unique location means the panels are rarely affected by shade from other buildings. With pollution-free operation, Glasgow's move to solar power is estimated to save £20,000 in energy expenditure and offset nearly forty tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

"The Scottish Government recently announced our intention to introduce a statutory target to reduce Scottish emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, as part of our proposals for Scotland's first Climate Change Bill.

"Everyone has a part to play and the Scottish Government is providing strong leadership by tripling funding support to encourage householders, businesses and community projects to generate their own renewable energy.

"This project is a good example of the kind of low carbon technology that will make a significant contribution to Scotland's future prosperity and help build increased, sustainable economic growth."

Chief Executive of the Scottish Court Service, Eleanor Emberson said:

"Even with the Scottish weather, the system can generate enough electricity at the outset to cover our out of hours usage. We are planning further investment on building and energy management systems to significantly cut the Court's energy consumption, which will mean the solar panels can contribute even more of our power requirements.

"We are committed to improving the energy efficiency of our court buildings and our initiatives range from this large solar project at one of Europe's busiest courts to our plan to install a ground source heat pump to support the energy requirements of Lochmaddy Sheriff Court.

"Glasgow's new solar system helps us tackle emissions and moves us a step closer towards meeting the Low Carbon Building Standards being put forward".

The Scottish Court Service received a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme which covered 50 per cent of the materials and installation costs.

While the set up costs are significant, the running costs are very low and as it is connected to the grid, if the system is able to generate more than the court requires at any point, it will earn income through ROC's (Renewable Obligation Certificates) worth 4.5p/kWh of electricity PV generated.

The system is expected to have a working life of around forty years.