Local business, Barnards Volkswagen has become the first car retailer in Suffolk to generate its own electricity.

The ‘clean’ energy is provided by the 166 new state of the art solar panels which have recently been installed on the roof of the Volkswagen showroom on Station Road East in Stowmarket.

The solar panels are expected to provide a sustainable source of energy providing 40 KW per hour and 30,000 KW per year that in turn, translates into a saving of up to £3,000 per year.  Furthermore, any surplus energy produced is expected to generate an additional income of up to £5,000 from the Government’s ‘Feed in Tariff’, introduced in 2010 to incentivise the use of renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines.

Barnards teamed up with local business and solar panel experts, Potkins Mead Limited, to provide and install the solar panels in a bid to reduce the retailer’s carbon footprint.  Gary Halestrap, Brand Manager at Barnards Volkswagen says: “In an era when the cars we sell are becoming more and more environmentally friendly it made perfect sense to us to make our showroom more efficient.  The installation of our solar panels highlights our commitment to becoming a greener and more environmentally responsible business.

“We’re hoping other businesses will follow our lead and take that step towards making Suffolk a greener county.”

Steve Potkins, Director at the renewable energy specialists, Potkins Mead says “These days we are using energy in ever increasing quantities, solar panels are simply the best method of reusing  this energy whilst also making savings.

“Once installed the panels take care of themselves, owners do not have to do anything to operate them and with no moving parts they require very little maintenance.”

Steve Potkins adds: “We are delighted to have been associated with Barnards on this project. They have been a pleasure to work with and we would like to congratulate them on their move to a ‘Greener Future’.”