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Complainant Name:
Mr Philip Jones

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Scottish Daily Mail

Complaint:

Mr Philip Jones, Chief Executive of Berwickshire Housing Association complained about an article in which a couple who lived in a house it had built as part of an eco-friendly building criticised the amount of energy the house was able to produce. The complainant said that, contrary to the claim in the article, the photovoltaic system was rated at 4kw and quite capable therefore of producing enough electricity to boil a kettle. In fact, enough electricity was generated on a daily basis to boil around seventy kettles.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following letter from the complainant: With regard to the article published on 11 July 2006, entitled ‘Our solar panels could hardly boil a kettle’, I write on behalf of Berwickshire Housing Association, owner of the property, to correct a number of factual inaccuracies.

First, the photovoltaic array is rated at 4kW peak, that is, 4kW is the maximum output of the system at any given point in time. Given that the average kettle is rated at 2.2kW, the system is quite capable of supporting such an appliance in peak conditions. Moreover, the system’s energy production has been monitored constantly since installation and, over a 12 month period, the photovoltaic array produced 3,300kWh of electricity – enough to boil around 70 kettles a day.

In terms of the residents’ awareness of the source of electricity generated, the ‘seamless switch’ function of the designed system means that the residents should not notice any change in the source of supply, that is from photovoltaic to National Grid, and vice versa. The system is designed purposely to ensure continuity of supply at point of usage.

The panels produce energy in response to light and any energy not drawn down directly by the residents has been supplied to the National Grid – contributing to the energy produced nationally from renewable sources.

The reference to the wind turbine reducing heating costs is mistaken, as the turbine produces electricity (not heat) at the property. The project has complied with all requirements of the DTI study of which it formed a part.

Report: 73



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