Power to the people: top 3 community energy schemes

Written by Lori Campbell on 2nd Oct 2019

With protests the world over about the inaction of big banks and business on climate change, communities are taking it into their own hands to tackle the crisis.

Not-for-profit co-operative Repowering London empowers communities to fund, install and manage their own clean, local energy – while also getting a return on their investment.

The aim is to put people at the heart of the energy system, not only to help fight the climate emergency by creating net zero emissions, but also to build resilient communities and promote technological innovation.

Here we round up its top three community energy projects, and show you how to get involved.

 

1. Lambeth Community Solar

Lambeth Community Solar is aiming to raise £137,000 to install 145 kWp of solar panels on two schools in Lambeth. The share offer is now open to investors, with a minimum investment of just £100.

The solar panels will save 31 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year (the equivalent of 3,500 trees) while supplying the schools with clean, green electricity at a discounted price.

Anyone with a UK bank account can invest from £100 and Lambeth residents under 25 can invest from £50. Over the lifetime of the project (20 years), investors will receive an average three per cent return on their investment.

As well as repaying investors with interest, the profit will be used to create a Community Fund. This fund (£35,000 over the projects’ lifetime) will be used to benefit the schools and the community, supporting education, energy advice and innovation projects.

 

2. North Kensington Community Energy

North Kensington Community Energy is working with the Westway Trust to install 150 kWp of solar panels on the borough’s Westway Sports Centre in spring 2020.

It follows the successful installation of 83 kWp of solar panels on three local schools and community buildings. The latest solar panels will save up to 32 tonnes of CO2 a year from being pumped into the atmosphere while creating a community fund for local projects. You can get involved here.

 

3. City of London Community Energy

In the first ever community-owned solar project in the city of London, solar panels will be installed on rooftops in the borough’s Portsoken Ward. The £48,000 needed to pay for the 50kWP solar panels will primarily come from selling shares to community members. These funds will be boosted by additional sources such as carbon offset schemes and donations from corporations as part of their corporate social responsibility strategies.

Around 80 per cent of the electricity generated will be sold to the City of London Corporation to power the site’s communal areas. The remaining energy will then be sold to a licensed energy supplier to be used off-site. You can get involved here.

 

Co-ops run by the community

All of these schemes are run by community benefit societies – a type of co-op. These are legal entities which act to serve the broader interests of the community. They ensure that financial returns are locked into the local area, delivering local benefits.

To date, Repowering has raised £466,530 in capital finance, and £119,500 for local communities to spend. Its renewable energy schemes now generate more than 325,000 kWh each year, saving 79 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

If you’re involved in a community project taking action on climate change, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch at lori.campbell@good-with-money.com

 

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