Monday, 24 February 2020

‘Everybody should do more to help the environment’

SALLY RANKIN spent £20,000 having 18 solar panels and a battery fitted at home in Coldharbour Close, Henley, in March last year.

This was just before the feed-in tariff scheme was scrapped so she receives payments for the surplus power that goes to the national grid.

Ms Rankin, 67, who is originally from Australia, has lived in the same house since 1987 and founded the Henley Wildlife Group in 1993.

She has always been conscious of the need to help the planet and had been considering having solar panels installed for several years before she finally did so using Wallingford company Sims Solar.

She said: “I thought it was about time I put my money where my mouth is.

“I became interested in the environment in the late Eighties when there was a big upsurge in interest. There was lots of press coverage at that stage about the harm we were doing to the environment.

“I really do believe that everybody should be trying to do more to help the environment. We are facing very serious environmental issues, which have been highlighted by the likes of Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. It is really serious. If we don’t do something soon, there is a whole raft of ways that things can get worse.

“There are also lots of ways people can help and I do feel as a society we need to do more to protect the environment.”

Ms Rankin, who drives a hybrid car, worked in IT before starting her own business in 2000 distributing and supporting software used to capture data about wildlife across the world.

She retired in 2018, three years after the death of her husband John, a management consultant, from cancer.

Her battery is a Tesla Powerwall, which is mounted to the wall of her garage and cost £9,000 on its own.

From March to December last year, the panels generated 5,930kWh of electricity, which was more than Sims Solar predicted the system would achieve in a year. Of the energy generated, Ms Rankin consumed nearly half of it, either directly through lights and sockets, heating or through storage in the battery for later use.

This meant she was 91 per cent self-sufficient in terms of her electricity needs and instead of buying 3,020kWh from her supplier, she only needed 280kWh.

Ms Rankin said: “There is an app on my mobile phone that I can use to see how the panels are doing. You just click on it and you can see all sorts of information and graphs.

“I’m glad I got it done. They are expensive to put up. Some people take the view that they will not get a return on their investment in their lifetime. I probably won’t either, but I can already see I’m not paying as much for my electricity.”

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