Surgery’s Solar Roof Pays Dividends for Bath Practice

Installing the largest solar roof of any surgery in the UK was a sizeable investment for Dr Patrick Eavis and his partners at their practice in Bath, but one year on, it is paying dividends through reduced energy bills and a zero payback cost.

The 128 photovoltaic (PV) panels covering much of the roof of Oldfield Surgery have generated more electricity in their first year than forecast.

Encouraged by the success of the installation,Dr Eavis hopes other GP practices will consider renewable energy as a way of reducing both their carbon footprint and running costs.

The solar roof fitted on one of his father’s barns in 2010 inspired Dr Eavis to equip the surgery, which also houses a dental practice, with PV. Michael Eavis, founder of the Glastonbury Festival,has one of the UK’s largest private solar photovoltaic systems at his Somerset farm.

Dr Eavis said: “My father is a great advocate for solar energy and after seeing the success of his solar PV, I contacted Solarsense, who installed his system, and another firm. We went with Solarsense because their quote was better and I knew they had done an excellent job at the farm.

“We chose a large PV system because we wanted to maximise the environmental and financial benefits. There was an obvious tax advantage: because we are self-employed, we could write off the capital cost against tax in the first year following installation,” he added.

The system takes advantage of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) that rewards home owners and businesses investing in renewable technologies. It provides them with a guaranteed payment from their electricity supplier for the power they generate and use, as well as a guaranteed payment for electricity they export to the grid.

The six Oldfield partners took out a loan from Lombard Finance to pay for the installation, and the annual repayments are covered by the income from the Feed-in Tariff.

Designed to generate almost 20,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, the system saves nearly 12 tonnes of CO2 emissions. A visual display near the reception desk shows how much power the system is producing and the carbon saved.

The installation only took a few days and created no disruption for the partners, patients and staff. “The system has worked very well, better than anticipated over the year, and is incredibly low maintenance,” said Dr Eavis.

He is so pleased with the system that he has asked Solarsense, the South West’s leading renewable energy specialist, to install solar thermal panels for heating water on the roof of his home in Bath. Most solar energy systems do not require planning permission but Dr Eavis needs consent because his house is a listed building.

He said: “It's good to do something to contribute to the environment, and if we all play our part it will make a huge difference. I hope what we have done at our surgery will encourage others to consider renewable energy – it’s a win-win situation because it brings down energy costs and helps the environment.”

 

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