Dean Court Community Centre
Dean Court Community Centre received an OxFutures grant to help install 10KwP of Solar PV panels and a 13.5KwH Tesla storage ‘powerwall’ battery.
The centre first opened its doors to the public in 2014; since then it has acted as the physical “home” of Dean Court Community Association (DCCA) and provides a venue for a variety of groups every day of the week.
Oxfutures carried out a free energy assessment of Dean Court Community Centre in 2019 which recommended, amongst other suggestions, that the building be installed with solar panels and a battery. The site’s south-west facing roof over the main hall was in poor repair and the DCCA had plans to replace it. This was the ideal time to consider adding solar panels to provide a renewable source of power for the building.
In 2021, the solar panels and battery were installed, with 25% of the funding coming from the OxFutures GreenFund.
Derek Rawson, one of the Trustees, commented ‘we were excited to receive the support from OxFutures in providing the energy audit and subsequent grant and encouraging us to install the solar panels and storage battery. We are delighted with the outcome that will benefit all users of the Centre and hopefully encourage others to install solar panels in their own homes’.
The site has recently reached its first anniversary of solar and battery operation (September 2021 – September 2022) and has generated 12,233 KwH of electricity in this period, which equates to 82% of the total electricity used at the site. It should be noted that this is not to say that all electricity generation was used on site: for instance, 40% of generation was sent to the national grid (during periods when the battery was full and the site was not able to use the energy itself).
The use of solar electricity from either the solar PV panels in real-time, or via the powerwall battery saved the centre £1,065 per annum due to the avoided purchase of electricity from the national grid. On current market prices for electricity this saving would now be significantly higher.
The centre has no gas on site so relies solely on electricity for all energy, including their heating. The electricity being generated from their solar PV can be used to power all services and appliances in their building.
A 13.5KwH Tesla storage ‘powerwall’ battery has been installed in the building. As the majority of the Community Centre’s users visit in the evening, it is useful to have a battery so that energy is stored when the solar panels are generating the most energy, and provide that energy when there is less generation and more demand in the evening.
The next plan for Dean Court Community Centre is to install an EV (electric vehicle) chargepoint on the side of the building. The potential for the building’s solar panels to power the chargepoint is an exciting prospect.