A new allotment in Wokingham borough has gone green in more ways than one by introducing solar panels to power gardening equipment and other tools.
The site off Ifould Crescent, on the Montague Park estate in Wokingham town, opened in the spring and has now welcomed its first plot holders who visit regularly to grow a range of crops.
Since adopting the allotments from David Wilson Homes, who built them alongside neighbouring homes, Wokingham Borough Council has made improvements by launching an innovative project to provide them with sustainable power.
Harvest solar energy to support the allotment
This comprises two solar panels which harvest energy from the sun and transfer it to high-density batteries for energy storage on the site. The batteries then supply power to four electrical points and two USB sockets inside and outside of a tool shed, providing power 24 hours a day.
The system is fully “off-grid”, using no energy from outside sources, and supports the allotment in many ways, such as:
- Powering a communal rechargeable lawnmower so residents can mow the plot pathways
- Allowing residents to power a communal kettle for cups of tea and social gatherings
- Operating power tools or recharging mobile phones to stay contactable while working on site
As well as solar energy, the allotments will soon have compostable toilets which discharge waste into the ground where it safely decomposes without using power, a water connection or chemicals.
Reduce reliance on harmful energy sources
“The sustainable energy project at these new allotments is a fantastic way of demonstrating how solar power can be used in creative ways that benefit whole communities,” said Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services.
“When we think of solar power, we traditionally think of powering homes and businesses. This project shows how it can be used successfully in less obvious ways, to further reduce our reliance on more harmful energy sources.
“I look forward to seeing how this project progresses and hope it can be replicated in other allotments across the borough.”
The council will monitor the progress of this system and if beneficial will roll out similar setups in its other allotments.
The project is funded by contributions from housing developers, which the council collects under a legal agreement when it gives permission to build new homes. The allotments are now being managed by Wokingham Town Council and the land will soon be handed over to the town council.
This funds a range of improvements from allotments to new public green spaces and walking and cycling facilities.
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