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The Go Green - Firefighters are blazing a trail with solar move

29th June 2011

Firefighters are showing they are as willing to battle global warming as they are city fires by putting solar panels on a Newcastle station house.

Twenty four photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed on the south-facing roof of Newcastle North Community Fire Station in Gosforth.

And it is hoped the £19,000 scheme funded by the North East Improvemnet Efficiency Partnershup (NEIEIP), could cut £2,000 from the buildings annual energy bill.

Station manager Martin McConnel said the panels offered "a fantastic opportunity" to reduce Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service's carbon footprint and to demonstrate their commitment to reducing the amount of energy used.

"As a public service, it is vitally important we play our part in implementing real and effective measures to cut our operating costs", he said

"And by contributing to the production of our own energy, we are ideally placed as a model for others to follow suit.  The solar panels provide visible evidence of the drive to enforce our carbon emissions reduction strategy."

The panels produce electricity during daylight hours and this installation with mean that Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service will not need to buy much electricity from the national grid.

The saving is estimated to equate to around 9% of the national annual bill for the station.

While the panels themselves will need very little maintenance, they are silent in operation and will not emit green house gases. 

The new panels are all part of an effort, launched in April 2009, to reduce firefighters impact on the environment.

The service aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 22% from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2015 and is planning a programme of improvements including boiler replacements and more automatic lighting controls.

The panels were installed by John N Dunn Group/SOL2O 

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