Write to your MP and save Solar PV!

Energise Sussex Coast has joined the call from the community energy sector in expressing dismay at the proposed end of the Feed In Tariff and Export Tariff, scheduled for March 2019 and asking for action to stop it.

Energise Sussex Coast are asking people to write to their MP and ask for them to do something about this threat to solar PV.

Here is a Copy of Energise Sussex Coast’s letter:

 

Dear Amber Rudd MP,

We are writing to bring to your attention recent policy changes from the UK government which will effectively halt the installation of new small-scale renewable generation causing loss of jobs and investments and limiting our ability as a country to meet our carbon targets.

We ask that you urgently raise this issue with Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to ask him to continue to pay an export tariff which will provide remuneration for energy supplied by small-scale generators. We were encouraged to see Claire Perry confirm in the House of Commons that exported electricity “should not be provided to the grid for free”, but it is vital that this assurance is carried through.

You may already be aware of similar campaigns by the Solar Trade Association, 10:10 and Community Energy England – we fully support these campaigns.

The Feed-in Tariff has been a hugely successful government scheme to provide financial incentive and support to small-scale generation. It has helped nearly one million homeowners, small businesses, schools and hospitals to own their own energy and embrace the transition to a low-carbon future. For community energy groups, this scheme has been invaluable – it has allowed us to flourish and grow, engaging with more of our local community to reduce energy spend and fuel poverty.

The government announced major reductions to the tariffs in 2015, as well as a plan to close part of the scheme. The effect of this was immediate – installations fell from over 20,000 a month to just a few thousand and have continued to decline since. The loss of jobs has also been just as dramatic with a 32% loss in the solar industry from 2015-2016. To add insult to injury, the government has now also announced that they will close the export tariff element of the scheme – this pays generators for any power they export to the grid. Not providing this remuneration will result in any new installations after March 2019 providing their energy to the grid for free, becoming the only participants in the energy system that are not paid for the energy they produce.

As well as bringing jobs and investment to both the national and local economies, small-scale generation delivers multiple benefits to the energy system which result in reduced infrastructure costs – savings that will be passed onto the consumer.

This Autumn we’ve announced our first community energy investment offer in Hastings. Energise Sussex Coast, in partnership with Brighton Energy Coop, are raising £180,000 through community shares to fund 250 kilowatts of solar panels (roughly 1066 panels as it happens) on East Sussex College. The college will save roughly £4250 per year on its energy bills.

Putting energy generation into the hands of individuals, small businesses and communities triggers a shift in attitudes towards energy and the environment – BEIS’ own survey shows 80% public support for renewables. Understanding where power comes from and having a vested interest in its worth, gives individuals and communities a sense of ownership. It prompts concerns about energy efficiency and security of supply and, above all, it engages people directly in the fight against climate change.

By closing government support for these schemes and not even providing fair payment for energy generated, the message to individuals, to investors and to communities is that their contribution is not valued. It leaves them facing the question of whether their years tirelessly working, often voluntarily, to raise community and financial support, have been worth it.

We understand that the need to reduce energy bills and that the closure of the generation tariff will reduce these costs. However, paying small-scale generators a fair price, an export tariff, puts no extra cost onto consumer bills. Without it, individuals, hospitals, communities and small businesses would be handing electricity to energy companies for free. If large, international companies are paid a fair price, why should British households and businesses not be given the same?

We think the Secretary of State will make a decision by Christmas. We ask therefore that you raise these issues urgently with Greg Clark in the House, by letter or in person, asking him to keep the export tariff and protect the small-scale renewables industry.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Watson and the Energise Sussex Team

Invitation to the 1066 community energy offer launch event

Energise Sussex Coast and East Sussex College are delighted to invite all supporters of the 1066 Local Energy campaign to the launch of the 1066 community energy offer.

The event will take place on 13 December 2018, 5:30–7:30pm at East Sussex College, Station Plaza.

This is the first community energy share offer in Hastings and we are seeking to raise £180,000 to fund the largest roof top solar installation in the 1066 area. The share offer is open to anyone but we are especially keen to invite as many local residents, local businesses and community organisations as possible to invest in the future of the college and Hastings.

Click here to watch our video about the share launch.

The money raised will enable 250 kilowatts of solar panels to be installed on the East Sussex College Ore campus site (which is almost exactly 1066 solar panels!). The college will save roughly £4250 per year on its energy bills.
With the transformation of the energy market underway we hope that excess power generated during weekends and holiday periods can be sold to local residents in the Ore Valley at affordable prices.

By investing in 1066 Local Energy Shares you are supporting the transition to low carbon energy and a fairer energy future and will receive a reasonable 5% return on your investment.

We hope that you will join us and find out more about the 1066 Local Energy Shares and hear about the transformative potential of community energy.
Please RSVP to kate@energisesussexcoast.co.uk by December 10th.

Download invitation.

Download the offer leaflet

Powering up the Ore Valley with 1066 Free Solar Panels

East Sussex college launches 1066 solar campaign with Energise Sussex Coast

Hastings will see its first ever community energy share offer go live this week with investors able to buy shares to fund 250 kilowatts of solar (roughly 1066 panels) on the roof of the Ore campus of East Sussex Coast College. The solar roof will supply the college with a significant amount of its electricity at a reduced rate. This will be the largest roof top solar project in the 1066 region. The college will not have to pay for the panels, which will be gifted to them after 25 years when the project ends. Local investors will earn a 5% return (dividend) on their shares.

Click here to watch the video and learn more about the 1066 Local Energy campaign.

Kate Meakin, Campaign Manager said

“Community energy offers a real win win to local roof owners and we hope this project will encourage many more to sign up. The college will benefit from cheaper electricity, saving them £4,275 a year. Profits are kept in the community as local people can invest and receive a fair return and it is great for the planet and the students. It shows how the town can work together to achieve a cleaner energy future.”

The project is a collaboration between Energise Sussex Coast, Brighton Energy Co-operative and East Sussex College and marks the first major milestone in the 1066 Local Energy campaign. The campaign, led by Energise Sussex Coast, Transition Town Hastings and supported by the Diocese of Chichester and others, aims to increase the amount of renewable energy generation under local ownership. Fittingly, the College roof has space for 1066 solar panels!

Biram Desai, Chief Financial Officer for the college said

 “East Sussex College Hastings is delighted to be part of an exciting and innovative project to deliver renewable energy in Ore Valley.  The project delivers training and apprenticeship opportunities and educational benefits to our students, staff, stakeholders and local community, alongside real financial benefits to the College via reduced utility bills.  In as far as local colleges should be an integral part of their local community, and that ultimately they should support our young people for their future lives ahead, this exciting innovation ticks all the boxes!”

Energise Sussex Coast are calling on local people to invest and help raise the £ 180,000 needed and play their part in making Hastings a solar town with more renewable, locally owned and clean energy.  For more information or to invest visit https://brightonenergy.org.uk/1066-local-energy/ or email kate@energisesussexcoast.co.uk

Will Cottrell, founder and Director of Brighton Energy Co-op, adds

“Schools and Colleges sit at the heart of our communities so – as a community organisation – we’re very pleased to help them reduce their electricity bills. Locally-funded renewable energy is a virtuous circle of local investment and local solar projects, and we’re very pleased that Ore Valley College has joined the groundswell of educational organisations getting on board with community energy.”

Amber Rudd MP said

 “It is great to see local campaigns such as the 1066 Community Energy Share Offer raising funds and awareness of the importance of sustainable energy. Not only will the solar roof provide subsidised electricity, but it also produces renewable energy for our local community.”

“I hope that other local businesses will follow by example and consider renewable energy sources.”

Find out more about the local community energy offer to charities, businesses and local homes before the Feed in Tariff ends in April 2019 by contacting Energise Sussex Coast

Notes 

What is community energy?

Community energy is about people coming together to reduce energy use and purchase, manage and generate low carbon heat and power.
Community energy projects are often delivered collectively by a group or organisation with a focus on engagement, local leadership and strong positive outcomes for the local community. Community groups often have distinct, specific localised goals with an overarching benefit of tackling climate change, energy security and making energy affordable.

How do people invest in the college project?

Brighton Energy Co-operative (BEC) raise money for the solar roof via investment from the wider community. To raise money and install solar panels they sell shares in Brighton Energy Coop, a form of co-operative known as a Community Benefit Society (CBS). To date BEC have raised £ 1.9 million and installed 28 solar arrays (and growing). Shareholders become members of BEC. A CBS is radically different from a normal company – each member in the society has one vote for example (regardless of the amount invested) and the maximum investment is £100,000.

They aim to provide new members a return on investment of 5% a year, as they have for all our existing members, starting 12-18 months after each project is installed. 5% of capital is also available for repayment each year.

The minimum shareholding is £300 and the maximum is £100,000. For more details on becoming a Brighton Energy Co-operative member see here. https://brightonenergy.org.uk/product/join/

1066 Local Energy Campaign

The campaign aims to increase the amount of locally generated and owned solar power.  For more details on the campaign visit www.1066energy.org.uk

Energise Sussex Coast is a local St Leonards based energy co-operative. They are a not for profit Community Benefit Society set up in 2012 to work on projects around renewable energy and energy injustice. For more details visit www.energisesussexcoast.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Trusted suppliers of Solar PV

Energise Sussex Coast has worked with Community Energy South to produce a detailed process to review the performance of solar and battery providers. Energise Sussex Coast can refer you to their list of trusted suppliers and help make sure you get the best deal.

Suppliers have been independently checked on:

  • Financial status

  • Experience, track record and installation standards

  • Minimum quality, environmental and health and safety standards for manufacture

  • End of life waste management standards for products

The trusted supplier relationship also means that you can access a no hassle, top quality installation at the best possible price.

You can download the form here or email kate@energisesussexcoast.co.uk for details.

Be part of a Living Labs research project

Energise Sussex Coast is looking for local residents to take part in the ENERGISE Living Lab research project. Participants will join thousands of other citizens across the UK to be supported to cut the amount of energy they use in the home. Continue reading “Be part of a Living Labs research project”

Workshop: Is solar PV for me? 29th May, 11 – 1pm, Silchester Road, St Leonards

Energise Sussex Coast are organising a workshop to help local households decide whether installing Solar PV will work for them.

Book your free place here.

Continue reading “Workshop: Is solar PV for me? 29th May, 11 – 1pm, Silchester Road, St Leonards”

Renewable Energy Workshop – 29th March

Would you like to learn more about renewable energy? How it works and how communities can use it to improve the local economy? Continue reading “Renewable Energy Workshop – 29th March”

1066 Local Energy Shares – new partnership announced

The 1066 Local Energy Campaign is delighted to announce its partnership with the Brighton Energy Coop (BEC). BEC will be the delivery partner for our community solar energy installation projects for large roofs (600m2 +). Continue reading “1066 Local Energy Shares – new partnership announced”