Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 15:21 UK

Call for green power grant change

Chris Goninan and Alec Maund at St Just Sports Centre
Chris Goninan and Alec Maund said the centre could lose income

A sports centre in Cornwall is calling on the next government to change how groups awarded green electricity grants can use equipment to gain extra income.

The St Just Sports Centre has £100,000-worth of solar panels, of which £48,000 was paid for by government grants.

Centre trustees said they would like to to sell excess power to the national grid for the same rate that domestic households can.

Current rules state they cannot unless they return the grant money.

The centre, which also receives funding from Sport England, installed its panels in 2009.

'Change of heart'

Centre chairman Alec Maund said the trustees had hoped they would be paid about 36p for every kW of electricity they pumped back into the national grid, under new so-called feed-in tariffs which began in April.

However, trustee Chris Goninan said the centre had been told it could not receive that rate because of the type of grant it had received.

He said: "If you've have had a Low Carbon Buildings Grant Phase Two grant, you cannot have that and the feed-in tariff. We would have to pay the grant back."

The trustees said if they were allowed to earn the same amount as domestic households involved in feed-in tariffs, they could raise about £6,000 a year.

Currently they are only allowed to benefit from a sale rate that would generate an income of about £2,000 a year.

'Valuable export'

Alec Maund said: "What we would like to see is a change of heart on the part of the government.

"It doesn't alter the fact that the electricity that we export is going to be valuable to somebody."

The Labour Party said it was committed to meeting a target of generating 15% of the country's energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.

The Conservatives said they are planning a new system of feed-in tariffs to stimulate diversity and decentralisation of power supplies, as well as incentivise energy-saving.

The Liberal Democrats say they plan to transform the national grid into a decentralised grid which would respond dynamically to changing energy demands.

The candidates announced for St Ives are:

Green: Tim Andrewes; UK Independence Party: Mick Faulkner; Liberal Democrat: Andrew George; Labour: Philippa Latimer; Mebyon Kernow: Simon Reed; Cornish Democrats: Jonathan Rogers; Conservative: Derek Thomas.

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