A loan of £710,000 has supported the installation of over 700 solar panels at seven nature reserves, including Minsmere, The Lodge and Bempton Cliffs. It is expected that these will provide up to 80% of the sites’ annual energy requirements (around 10% of the energy RSPB uses in total each year), saving the RSPB a significant sum on its energy bill, as well as providing income from selling energy back to the grid. Any additional electricity is purchased on a green tariff.
The RSPB has also used the finance to install a new biomass boiler at Old Moor and deploy energy-efficient LED lighting across 10 office locations.
The new measures are part of the RSPB’s ongoing sustainability programme, with the organisation aiming to generate at least 50% of the energy that it uses from sources on its own estate by 2020, with ambitions to become carbon-neutral in the future. It has already taken steps in lowering its own environmental impact – with wind turbines at two reserves and its headquarters, which also boasts a 95% recycling rate.
The deal with Triodos Bank, Europe’s leading sustainable bank, enables the RSPB to focus its charitable donations from the public into live conservation projects, while the repayments of the renewable energy projects are paid for by ongoing energy bill savings, plus payments from electricity generation over a 20-year period.
Ruth Davis, Deputy Director - Global Conservation at the RSPB, said: “We are all becoming more aware of the growing threat climate disruption poses for people and nature. As an environmental body, we have adopted targets to drive reductions in our carbon footprint, including through energy efficiency and generating energy at our nature reserves. I am delighted that we have been able to achieve this through our developing Conservation Investment Programme, with the support of Triodos and Environmental Finance.”
Triodos Bank lends solely to organisations delivering social, environmental or cultural impact. It has financed hundreds of renewable energy projects in Europe, and in the UK, financed a further 15 projects in 2018 to support businesses and communities in building wind turbines, solar farms, ground source heat pumps and hydropower schemes.
Phillip Bate, senior relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, commented: “We are really proud that RSPB has chosen us to be its partner to finance this project. Our values and mission as a bank align well with its work protecting and restoring habitats, while helping the UK’s bird species to thrive.
“Efforts from all organisations to reduce their carbon footprints should be encouraged and we are pleased to help the RSPB take steps in reducing its own environmental impacts.”
The solar panel installations have been carefully located to avoid impacts on nature. As part of the planning process assessments have been carried out to ensure there are no impacts on specially protected species. Some panels are roof mounted on reserve buildings, others on car park canopies. The panels at Minsmere are ground mounted on a bank beside the car park; the shelter they provide is likely to attract the rare antlion to dig small pits in the ground under the panels to trap prey. It has the potential to create one of the largest colonies in England.
Images available upon request.
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About the RSPB
The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
About Triodos Bank
Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank has become a frontrunner in sustainable banking globally. As an independent bank that promotes responsible and transparent banking, it does not see any conflict between a focus on people and the planet and a good financial return. Instead it believes that they reinforce each other in the long-term.
Triodos Bank has banking activities in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain, Germany and France as well as Investment Management activities based in the Netherlands but active globally. Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of 54 sustainable banks. Together these banks want to grow sustainable banking and its impact on the real economy substantially.
Triodos Bank UK Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank NV. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008. VAT reg no 793493383.
Solarsense - Powering the UK towards a smart, clean energy future.
Solarsense is considered one of the UK’s leading energy technology providers. Specialising in the design, installation and maintenance of solar panels and renewable energy technologies, they supply a range of sustainable solutions that deliver financial savings, carbon reductions and energy independence.
Solarsense is one of the UK’s most trusted, respected and long-standing renewable energy companies. Based from their zero-carbon head office, the company has completed more than 14,000 smart energy installations and is responsible for powering some of the UK’s leading organisations.
With more than 4,000 renewable heating systems installed nationwide, Innasol are the UK’s leading company in the renewable energy sector. The market leading and well-established ETA biomass boilers help customers and companies to save money and carbon emissions. We are a proud partner of RSPB and happy to contribute to their ambitious environmental targets.
About Energy Saving Lighting
Energy Saving Lighting is a specialist LED lighting consultancy and installation company focusing energy efficient solutions. We have helped all types of organisations in all industry sectors to light their buildings more efficiently for over a decade. We have worked with schools and academies, local authorities, NHS, charities, shopping centres, warehousing and distribution centres, car parks and sport and leisure facilities. Switching to LED has saved our customers considerable amounts of CO2 emissions and thousands of pounds on their electricity bills.