By Ailin Quinlan
A TOP West Cork charity has joined forces with a local ‘green’ group in a visionary initiative to generate its own electricity at its soon-to-be-completed centre.
About 20 state-of-the-art solar panels are to make up a sophisticated solar-powered system at the new €2.1m Co Action building near Convent Avenue, in Clonakilty, which is set to open next month.
The initiative, which is being driven by the charity in conjunction with the Sustainable Clonakilty group, will cost in the region of €11,000.
It will involve the installation of a solar powered system – generating 5kw of electrical output through 20 solar panels, explained Xavier du Buisson, a director of Sustainable Clonakilty, who said the solar panels would be installed on a flat roof.
Mr du Buisson explained that under the terms of the agreement, Co Action would pay 50% of the cost upfront and the remainder over a period of five years, from the savings made from self-generated electricity.
‘This is part of an overall push to promote renewable in Clonakilty, and to work in co-operation with different community groups,’ he explained.
Said Pat Sullivan, a member of the board of directors of Co Action in Clonakilty:
‘Ultimately this initiative will provide the entire electrical requirement for the building – that is the ideal outcome. It is weather and sun dependant, however,’ he added.
Sustainable Clonakilty had originally approached the group with the idea.
‘We examined the viability of their idea and the figures all seemed to add up. We have had consultants overseeing the project. Co Action is a very local organisation, which serves local people, and we liked the fact that we were working with a local group like Sustainable Clonakilty,’ he added.
The panels are due to be installed shortly, Mr Sullivan added.
The Ardú complex will provide purpose-built accommodation and a range of therapy, training and office space and will cater for around 170 children and 30 adults from the greater Clonakilty area.
‘The building is due to be occupied in mid-March – it’s very close to completion,’ he said, adding that many new construction projects were taking sustainable technology on board.
‘We are delighted to be part of this trend with the support of Sustainable Clonakilty,’ he concluded.