The Channel Islands’ Co-operative Society shows the way

January 10th, 2011 by Richard Lord

On a sunny mid-winter’s day the eight photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Coop En Route building at La Route des Camps, St. Martin were producing 720 watts of electricity for the business.

Eight photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Coop En Route shop in St Martin, Guernsey (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Photovoltaic panels produce electricity from sunlight.  This electricity is best used to off-set the electricity used in a building, which currently in Guernsey is charged at a standard rate of 14.5 pence per unit (kWh).

The feed-in tariff to supply electricity back to the grid is the marginal cost for Guernsey Electricity Ltd. to produce one kWh of electricity, which is currently between 5 and 6 pence per kWh only.

The Coop En Route energy meter on display to customers visiting the shop (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Guernsey receives about 2000 hours of sunshine per year.  It is one of the sunniest locations in the British Isles.  It has tens of thousands of roof tops and yet very few of them use Guernsey’s abundant sunlight to heat water or to produce electricity.

After insulating one’s home, adding solar thermal panels to a roof to heat water, is one of the best ways of reducing one’s oil, gas, or electricity bill, followed by the addition of photovoltaic panels to produce electricity.

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