THE future of Areley Kings Village Hall (AKVH) is looking bright after a £15,000 solar energy system was installed to generate electricity and bring in extra cash.

The hall’s trustees called upon user groups, residents and businesses to pull together to raise £8,200 towards the £15,750 initial cost.

More than 60 people rose to the challenge and attended a special event on Friday, May 27 to celebrate achieving £6,600 of their goal.

Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier joined retiring chairman of trustees of AKVH, Graham Baldwin and his wife Pauline, along with deputy Mayor of Stourport, Gary Talbot and managing director of Kidderminster-based Eco2Solar, Paul Hutchens.

The panels have been working for six weeks and have so far produced more than 700kwh of free electricity for the hall. More than £300 will be earned by selling surplus money back to the National Grid and the building's carbon emissions have been reduced by 400kg.

It is estimated that the system will produce more than half of the electricity the hall normally uses, free of charge, plus it will receive 43.3p for every kwh of electricity produced by the system, for the next 25 years.

The Friends of AKVH are holding a ‘grand draw’ with more than 20 prizes valued in excess of £1,000. The money from the sale of the draw tickets is estimated at £2,000 if all the tickets are sold and would go directly to the solar energy fund, to complete the target of £8,200.

The draw will take place on Saturday, July 16 at 10.30am at a special coffee morning at the hall from 10am until 11.30am.