A TROUBLED community centre in the Capital has been selected to host solar panels in what is believed to be the UK’s largest ever socially-owned urban renewable energy project.
Cameron House in Prestonfield is among 25 council buildings which have been chosen to host the technology. Earlier this year, it emerged city officials were being investigated amid a six-year wrangle over what went wrong at the centre, which was rebuilt in 2009 but is wrestling with problems such as leaking gutters and front doors built too low.
However, its inclusion in the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative (ECSC) and Energy4All solar panel project marks a new chapter, as 24 other sites – most of them learning establishments – prepare for planning work to begin.
Mothers and fathers have welcomed the project’s educational focus, with real-time electricity generation displays set to go up on participating school buildings.
Fiona Kenny, parent council member at East Craigs Primary, which has been selected to take part, said: “Obviously it’s fantastic.
“They should consider it for the new constructions being put up but even with the existing building, it’s fantastic making pupils understand eco and energy impacts at such a young age.
“They are being brought up with that understanding throughout their lives which means that awareness of energy usage becomes matter of fact – it’s almost embedded as a thought process if it’s introduced at such a young age.”
She added: “Every benefit that we can identify to help the environment should be pushed through. But it’s about getting that understanding down to the root and these children are key to that – so many adults just do not care.”
It is expected that, once complete, solar panel installation will ensure cost savings while reducing Edinburgh’s carbon emissions by an estimated 855 tonnes a year.
Senior figures at Energy4All have welcomed progress towards full implementation.
A spokeswoman said: “This is Energy4All’s first city roof top solar project and we are delighted to be working alongside both Edinburgh Solar Co-operative and Edinburgh City Council.
“We provide accounting and administration to the co-operative, ensuring both the board of Edinburgh Solar and its members receive the highest level of service. We look forward to playing our part in making Edinburgh a cleaner, greener city.”
City chiefs have hailed the confirmed list of participating buildings as a “milestone” in the solar panel project.
Councillor Adam McVey, transport and environment vice-leader, said: “As well as the substantial environmental and social benefits of the new community energy co-operative, the installation of the solar panels will also create fantastic educational resources for schools across the city.
“Each device comes with a real-time display of electricity generation, which will be displayed on the buildings and accessible online.”
The new locations in full
Cameron House Community Centre
Carrick Knowe Primary
East Craigs Primary
Currie High School
Canal View Primary
Dean Park Primary
Tumbles at Portobello
Davidson’s Mains Primary
Oaklands Special School
St Ninian’s Primary
Carrickvale Community Centre
Drumbrae Leisure Centre
St Catherine’s Primary
Ainslie Park Leisure Centre