Brighton Energy Cooperative launches one of UK’s largest community-owned solar energy schemes
By Laura Whitehead 21st October 2011
Brighton Energy Co-operative is to launch a pioneering project that will generate community-owned green power in Brighton & Hove and fund local projects to help people reduce their energy bills.
From 2 November, Brighton Energy Co-operative will be launching a share offer to raise up to £500,000 for its first solar energy scheme — making it one of the largest community-owned energy initiatives in the UK.
People (investors) will be able to buy shares in Brighton Energy Co-operative, entitling them to a stake in the project. The money raised will be used to fund the purchase and installation of three solar arrays on the roofs of Shoreham Port, St Georges Church (Kemptown) and City Coast Church (Portslade) — collectively, equivalent to the size of one football pitch.
Brighton Energy Co-operative is also in discussions with owners of other sites for additional arrays.
The combined arrays will generate 120kW over their lifetime (25 years) — enough to power 40 homes and save 1,085 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Brighton Energy Co-operative will receive an income from the electricity generated from the feed-in-tariff, a Government-backed subsidy that’s guaranteed for 25 years. This will be used to pay 4% annual interest to investors and fund community projects, such as insulating homes to make them more energy efficient.
To promote the launch, a series of high-profile events is planned in November. These will include talks by solar pioneer Jeremy Leggett and Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, and a screening of the film Gasland.
Brighton Energy Co-operative’s chairman Will Cottrell, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring this offer to Brighton & Hove residents. It’s a great opportunity for local people to get involved in and own a renewable
energy scheme in the city. By supporting the generation of clean energy, they are helping Brighton & Hove reduce its reliance on polluting fossil fuels, lower its carbon dioxide emissions and become one of the country’s greenest cities.”
Jeremy Leggett said: “Community energy is a big idea. It’s also rapidly growing nationwide. These schemes have many benefits – they’re a a win-win for the communities that create them.”
The launch offer will run from 2 November to 16 December. The launch event will take place at The Friends House, Ship Street in Brighton on 2 November at 19.00-21.30.
To find out more about the launch event the offer, visit the BEC website: www.brightonenergy.org.uk