Lets go Solar normalises technology through open home event


Sunshine and soup were on the menu today at a renewable energy event in St Werburghs.

Participants of a Bristol-based energy-saving initiative met today for lunch in the house of Jackson Moulding, project manager and resident of the pioneering Ashley Vale self-build community.

As the sun shone, Jackson gave a tour of his home and a demonstration of a solar hot water heating system in action. “Even in the middle of winter, on a sunny day like this the pump is on and our solar panels are warming the water in our tank” said Jackson. The event was part of the Let’s Go Solar project, devised by a community group based in St Werburgh’s and aiming to help Bristol go solar affordably.

With funding still available for more people to get involved, the Let’s Go Solar scheme is still open to Bristol homeowners interested in having a solar-powered hot water system installed in their home for around half the normal price. Thanks to securing both government funding and local bargaining power, the not-for-profit community group, has slashed the typical cost of installing solar-powered hot water heating from around £5,000 to £2,500.

Ashley Vale Action Group was one of 38 UK-wide groups, and the only Bristol group, to successfully bid for a share of £3 million from the UK government. The government scheme aims to make renewable technologies accessible to more people in its effort to help reduce the UK’s overall carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, Let’s Go Solar has cut the costs even further by negotiating with nine local solar installers to use their collective power to buy hot water heating kits in bulk.

The energy-saving kits use the power of the sun to heat hot water, enabling homeowners to save on fuel bills as well as reduce their individual carbon footprint. Most of the systems must be installed by the end of March, so interested homeowners are encouraged to contact Ashley Vale Action Group as soon as possible to take advantage of the funding available.

Particularly welcome are homes deemed deprived according to government statistics such as St Agnes, St Pauls, Lockleaze, Eastville, Easton, Ashley Down, St Werburgh’s, Knowle, Hartcliffe, Fishponds etc. 

Solar thermal systems help reduce carbon emissions. When launching the government scheme last July, the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Gregory Barker MP, said: “An incredible 47% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions are attributable to heat generation.”