Putting renewable energy systems on the map with Bro Gwaun
By Ed Mitchell 4th October 2010
Transition Bro Gwaun, the West Wales Eco Centre, and Save and Generate have been working together to clarify the sometimes mystifying jungle of information about renewable energy and its installers. Using a handy map, the group are using the experiences of the early adopters to enable others to make the most of their renewable energy opportunities.
Here is their write up of their work in conjunction with Save and Generate…
Lack of clear information preventing action
Members of Transition Bro Gwaun (TBG) have found that many people in the Fishguard area would like to make use of renewable energy, either to reduce their energy bills and/or to reduce their carbon footprint. However, very few people have actually taken action to install systems because they feel very uncertain about the best way forward, due to a lack of clear independent information.
How much would a system cost? How much energy would it produce? What’s the realistic payback period? What would be the best system for their property? How to choose an installer – how experienced and competent are they likely to be. And can you really trust them to give honest, unbiased advice.
Tapping into information from early adopters
There are a considerable number of people in Pembrokeshire who have successfully (and sometimes less successfully) installed systems – wind turbines, PV and solar panels, heat pumps, bio-mass etc.
TBG wanted to use their knowledge and experiences to inform and encourage others, so they decided to gather together this information and find ways to share it with people in the community.
Establishing valuable partnerships
TBG set up a project group with the West Wales Eco centre to promote what they were doing and analyse the information they gathered. They also partnered up with a new company – Save & Generate, who have set up a free independent on-line information and quote finding resource on renewable energy systems covering the whole of the UK.
Using the S&G expertise they agreed to pool the information being gathered and present it on the S&G online interactive map available on the web site. S&G will then create another map on the TBG web site specific to data collected in Pembrokeshire.
The maps show the rough locations of a renewable installation and users can click on the marker to view a full case study and customer ratings of the equipment and installer. S&G are able to set up monitoring at installations and link this to the map so that real time generation data can be displayed. TBG are also hoping to set up a system where local people are able to visit certain sites with the agreement of the owners.
On the learning curve
TBG found that their initial questionnaire was too long and complex putting people off completing it. Save and Generate revamped this into a much briefer initial questionnaire, with an option for people to complete the longer questionnaire if they want to give more information. Questionnaires can be completed online or via an interview carried out by the TBG members at events or site visits.
Recently, Transition Bro Gwaun were awarded a small grant from Environment Wales to publicise this project, fund volunteers expenses in collecting this information and to produce a leaflet providing information specifically for our area of Pembrokeshire.
You can see the developing map and questionnaire here
Please contact Chris from TBG or Roger from Save and Generate for more information.