Teesside-based Sembcorp Energy UK has donated more than £37,000 to Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in Normanby to pay for power-saving solar panels on the building.

Last year, the company facilitated the £15,000 replacement works of inefficient filament and fluorescent lighting at Zoe’s Place with modern LED fittings throughout the 250-year-old former convent building.

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Chris Grant, Facilities & Compliance Manager at Zoe’s Place, said the charity is already seeing a huge benefit from the updated lighting, especially amid the rising cost of energy.

He said: “The new lights look great; they’ve improved the aesthetics of our Hospice and, more importantly, have helped to reduce our energy consumption, inevitably saving us money.”

It has been estimated that the new lighting could save the charity up to 75 per cent of their annual lighting bill, equating to several thousands of pounds recovered each year.

“Sembcorp is willing and able to reduce our carbon footprint further, by making us more energy efficient through the installation of solar panels, and the potential financial savings to Zoe’s Place will be hugely significant. Many thousands of pounds could be saved, over the next 25 years or so, really aiding our charity and the work we do,” added Chris.

The Northern Echo: Dave Thompson of Sembcorp, Tommy Harrington of Zoe’s Place and Chris Grant, Facilities & Compliance Manager, Zoe’s Place Baby HospicDave Thompson of Sembcorp, Tommy Harrington of Zoe’s Place and Chris Grant, Facilities & Compliance Manager, Zoe’s Place Baby Hospic (Image: Press release)

The planned solar panel system will consist of 54 roof panels and could will make an annual energy production of 18.72MWh with a CO2 saving equivalent to 200 trees being planted.

As well as funding the installation, SEUK is helping to facilitate the works, by finding an appropriate supplier to carry out the task: Stockton-based Marshall & McCourt.

Once installed and operational, it’s estimated the planned solar panels at Zoe’s Place will save the charity approximately £3,500 a year on its energy bills, possibly rising to more than £8,000.

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Dave Thompson, Operations Director at Sembcorp Energy UK, said: “Zoe’s Place is an important charity that helps families at very difficult times in their lives. Sembcorp Energy UK is dedicated to helping the charity become more energy efficient, in turn reducing their costs.

"The money saved on energy bills would be best redirected toward further serving children and their families through Zoe’s Place. In time, we hope the solar panels could also generate income for the hospice.”

Zoe’s Place has roots both on Teesside and in the West Midlands and is the only baby-specific facility of its kind in the North East. The Zoe’s Place Teesside facility offers palliative, respite and end-of-life care to babies and infants aged from birth to five years who are suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.