With the aid of LEADER funding, GEAI has commissioned and installed 20 solar panels on the roof of Ballinaglera Community Hall. Visible from the road, the panels are split between the East and West- facing roofs of the building. The system produces a maximum of 6 kw electricity and even in the dark winter days, enough electricity is generated to provide office lighting and computer use, and takes the chill off our water supply.
Statement from Aedín McLoughlin, our CEO:
We are delighted with our new “solar system”. For years we have been talking about renewable energies and how we must move away from fossil fuels. Now we are showing how this can be done. We have a computer app that connects with the system and shows from second to second the amount of electricity generated. From now on we will be able to demonstrate this to all our visitors – sometimes it’s amusing to see the difference in electricity produced if a cloud comes over the sun! And in the longer term, we are of course looking forward to our reduced electricity bills.
We know that this is only a start; Ballinaglera Community Hall still has an oil boiler and moving away from oil is a real challenge to us and to most residents of Leitrim. Our studies show that over two-thirds (69%) of Leitrim residents use oil as their main heating source. At present, heat pumps are seen to be the way forward but we need buildings to have a very high BER for these to be efficient. Which brings us to the requirement for expensive refurbishment… and so the issues present themselves.
What we hope to show with our new solar system is an example of how small communities can play their part in reducing their use of fossil fuels and in increasing their energy efficiency. Ballinaglera is a designated SEC (Sustainable Energy Community). We can look forward to more innovative initiatives by our local and enthusiastic residents.