Last weekend saw the UK's solar output surpass all other forms of power generation, equivalent to almost 28% of supply by lunchtime on Sunday.
Data from the government and National Grid-backed Sheffield Solar PV_Live Project shows how renewable energy has become a consistently high contributor to the UK's energy mix throughout 2018.
Have you considered installing solar PV on your household, business or community organisation?
CREW Solar is a group purchasing scheme which gives homeowners the opportunity to install a solar PV system at a discount. Find out more here.
Meanwhile, if you're interested in how CREW can help your organisation generate low cost renewable energy and a range of other measures for saving money, take a look at what services we offer.
The sixth community energy fortnight kicks off today (23rd June – 8th July). A celebration of communities who are sharing their resources, generating renewable energy and wasting less - embracing technologies as diverse as solar-PV arrays, wind turbines, hydro-electricity and biomass heat.
The Community Energy Fortnight is run by Community Energy England on behalf of the Community Energy Coalition. This year there is a great range of events being organised in London by Community Energy London.
Check out the events below:
Thursday 28th June, 5.30-8.50pm at City Hall, London.
Please register for your ticket here
This year the theme of Community Energy Fortnight is ‘energising communities’ and we’re taking this opportunity to rally together to inspire new and exisiting practitioners to come forward and engage with community energy.
Last year’s conference saw the release of the sector report for London, ‘Realising the Potential’, which examined barriers to the sector and opportunities moving forward. ‘Energising Communities’ is the next step; through a series of talks and panel discussions, CEL will explore what ‘moving forward’ looks like for London in practical terms.
This includes engaging with new stakeholders both across the sectors and within existing communities. CEL appreciates that ‘community energy’ goes far beyond solar – even in urban environments. We recognise that it is not just about energy technologies, efficiency or even fuel poverty; The key strengths of community energy are both our ability to raise awareness of energy issues, as well as to engage and empower the people that make up the many different communities across our city.
London may be at the bottom of the renewable energy and low carbon league tables today, but within our sector there is the knowledge and vision to help develop a London that leads the way and inspires other cities across the world.
Registration is at 5.30pm with speakers starting at 6pm. There will be time for networking from 8pm.
‘The Age of Stupid: film screening and panel discussion
Tuesday 3rd July, 6.30pm – 8.45pm
The Rio Cinema in Hackney will host the CEL screening of ‘The Age of Stupid’ to help raise funds for its rooftop solar project in connection with Hackney Energy.
Community Energy isn’t all about solar panels, financial models and draft excluders. It’s a varied and innovative space, which is fast becoming a more regular feature of our landscape, found in schools, housing co-ops, gardens, businesses, train stations and places of worship, to name a few.
The Age of Stupid stars Pete Postlethwaite, a future archivist looking at old footage from the year 2008 to understand why humankind failed to address climate change. Sadly this film is still hugely relevant – nowhere more so than in such a fast-paced consumerist city such as London.
The screening will take place at Rio cinema in Dalston, on Tuesday 3rd July at 6.00pm, followed by a discussion panel made up of London community energy practitioners and campaign groups who will explore the realities and future of community energy in London.
The Rio cinema is currently in talks with CEL member group, Hackney Energy, to explore the cinema’s potential to generate rooftop solar.
Tickets are £5, available through the Rio Cinema website and all sales will go towards feasibility studies for this project.
Community energy advice – Open Space!
Thursday 5th July, 6pm – 9pm at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London
Please register for your ticket here
An informal advice session for experienced practitioners and energy newbies alike. This is a welcoming space, which offers the chance to have questions discussed by community energy guides, over food and drink. We might not always know the answer, but we usually know someone who will!
Whether you just want to learn about your local community energy group, start one of your own or find out how your existing group can scale up its operations, this is the place for you!
CREW and Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) have been awarded up to £15,000 funding to generate solar power in one of Wandsworth’s most iconic venues.
CREW and BAC are targeting to meet over 50% of the venue’s demand through the installation of solar panels, while exploring further opportunities to improve the building’s sustainability including the inclusion of battery storage to serve the venue’s key demand periods during night time performances.
BAC welcomes over 100,000 people to its building every year to enjoy a wide and varied programme of over 650 shows. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in the local community, working with 5000 young people each year to stimulate creativity and interest in the arts.
Throughout the BAC’s extensive renovation programme they are endeavouring to make this Grade II listed building as sustainable as possible. Following the success of CREW’s first project with the Doddington and Rollo Community Association to retrofit LED lights and sensors through the building, this funding provides a fantastic opportunity to further improve the sustainability of another of Battersea’s community hubs.
The funding allows CREW to plan and deliver a project alongside BAC, however the cost of the actual installation is not included. For the moment, the two organisations are working together to assess the building needs, discuss plans with English Heritage and develop a financial model for the duration of the solar panel life span.
If you would like more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on BAC: https://www.bac.org.uk/
For more information on the Mayor’s Community Energy Fund winners: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-of-london-to-boost-clean-solar-energy
At our installation launch we heard from Alex Hartley who told us about the Energy Café run in Lewisham. This amazing project is something we’d like to copy and run in Battersea and Alex had a course to help us to do this. It would take 21 hours working together to learn how to help our neighbours – and ourselves – to get out of fuel debt and to get the best deal for our energy money.
We were excited and enthused by the success of the lighting installation at the Doddington & Rollo Business and Community Centre. Now we would cascade the benefits into the neighbourhood.
Just before Christmas 2017 we began. We learned so much in our first day together. For some of us the experiences we were dealing with were very near to home. For others the course was a revelation. It certainly was fun and Hadas Hagos brought refreshments from the ‘Waste Not Want Not Project’ that she runs locally to fuel our learning!
There is a lot of information to take on board. Not all of it is technical. In fact a lot of the work of an Energy Champion is to communicate with people who have serious issues with stretching their budgets to cover their fuel costs. Dealing with debt and taking back control is not instant and it is a skill that takes trust, knowledge, resources and an open mind to achieve.
We each got a low energy use LED bulb at the end of the session and shared our top tips for energy savings. I liked ‘switch off the energy vampires’, all those devices and pieces of equipment that sit quietly sucking up the electricity in the background of our technological lives.
We're offering free training to help you, and your community, save money and bring down your energy costs.
Our latest project, Community Energy Champions, is looking to train volunteers who'll then assist their friends and neighbours in saving money on their energy costs.
The FREE course is over six workshops, each three and a half hours long, scheduled for when is convenient for you.
Run by South East London Community Energy, it'll cover topics including:
If you are interested, or just want to find out more, email us at email@example.com.
Last Friday our community energy project at the Doddington and Rollo Community Association (DRCA) was officially launched by Marsha de Cordova the MP for Battersea.
The event was hosted by Leonie Cooper, London Assembly Member for Wandsworth and Merton (and member of CREW) and we welcomed guest speaker Alex Hartley from South East London Community Energy (SELCE).
The project replaced all the existing lighting at the DRCA with highly efficient LED bulbs that are controlled by motion sensors. Most of rooms in the DRCA receive no natural light hence the lights need to be on at all times of day. This leads to very high electricity bills. Our project is saving the DRCA £1000 per month.
CREW worked with Pure Leapfrog to raise the capital for the project, taking out a 0% interest loan, which will be paid back over 10-years using a portion of the money saved each month by DRCA.
This is the first example of a community energy project in London using an energy services agreement, and will hopefully be a model that can be replicated across the whole of London.
A portion of the money saved by the project will go into a community fund to be spent on social and environmental initiatives in Doddington & Rollo and the surrounding area
This year we will use this money to fund a series of workshops on the Doddington & Rollo estate focused on tackling fuel poverty. These workshops will train volunteers on how to help local people understand the simple changes they can make to reduce their energy bills, for example, switching to different energy tariffs and reducing unnecessary energy usage.
This “train the trainer” model of working with local volunteers to provide energy advice to their fellow residents shares the knowledge with the community creating a long term solution for helping with fuel poverty.
This is our first project, and we’re incredibly proud of it. This is the first step towards completing our vision of bring community energy to Wandsworth.
To celebrate the completion of our first community energy project at the Doddington and Rollo Community Association (DRCA) CREW are hosting a press event to officially launch the project on Friday 22nd September.
CREW has partnered with DRCA to help reduce utility bills at the Community Centre by installing energy efficient lighting and in turn raise funds for workshops to tackle fuel poverty for the local residents.
DRCA Community Centre has very little natural light but needs to provide lighting 24/7, resulting in very high utility bills. Replacing their existing fluorescent light bulbs with highly efficient LED bulbs controlled by motion sensors will save DRCA over £1000 per month on electricity.
The event will be opened by Leonie Cooper London Assembly Member for Wandsworth and Merton with guest speaker Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea.
Friday 22nd September
DRCA Business Centre, Charlotte Despard Avenue, Battersea, London, SW11 5JE
If you would like to attend please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/crew-drca-community-energy-project-launch-tickets-37704027762?utm_term=eventurl_text
About the Project
The DRCA provides facilities for local business, charities and community groups. The Community Centre has very little natural light and requires the lights to be on 24/7, resulting in very high electricity bills. The aim of the project was to replace the existing inefficient fluorescent light bulbs with highly efficient LED bulbs, that are controlled by motion sensors. This will save DRCA over £1000 per month. A portion of the money saved will be donated to a community fund that will pay for workshops aimed at tackling fuel poverty for low income families in the local area.
CREW worked with Pure Leapfrog to raise the capital for the project. CREW took out a loan from the British Airways Carbon Fund, which will be paid back over the 10-year lifetime of the project using portion of the money saved each month by DRCA.
The project would not have been possible without the help of Social Power Partnerships who performed all aspects of the installation, and Simmons and Simmons solicitors who provided pro-bono legal advice on the contracts.
Residents are coming together to buy solar panels in bulk, making savings on the equipment and installation costs. Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth (CREW), a volunteer group of local residents, has launched a campaign, called CREW Solar, to offer discounted roof-top solar panels in Wandsworth and Merton.
CREW has teamed up with Social Power Partnerships (SPP), a leading UK renewable energy developer, to offer roof-top solar panels to the community at a reduced rate.
By pooling together a number of residents in the same area, CREW has driven down both the equipment and installation costs. By joining this collective purchasing scheme, residents can save as much as 50% on the solar panels installations.
A typical solar power system on a house can earn the homeowner £300 in Government subsidies and energy bill savings each year. The panels would pay for themselves in as little as 8 years. CREW will receive £100 from SPP for every installed system for its community fund. This money will be used to help schools and charities in the area. Residents have until July 20th to join the scheme.
For more information, or to register your interest, go to our CREW Solar page or email CREW directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin and Maureen collaborating in the sunshine
We are excited that the installation of efficient lighting bulbs in the Doddington & Rollo Business and Community Centre is developing well. We expect to install the new bulbs during the summer and hope to have this done by (environment fortnight) and begin to show savings in energy use and costs immediately. This is a positive move forward for the business and community centre.
The latest development to celebrate in this project is the possibility that we can fundraise with D&R to refit the public areas of the whole building with efficiency sensors cutting power use even further and making more savings in the bills.
We take the opportunity to work the sunshine whenever we can. Otherwise we have to work without natural light underground in the business centre. Transforming sunlight into electricity for the centre would be ideal but in the meantime we are enjoying the real thing.
Since January 2016 when dramatic cuts to renewable energy subsidies, knows as FiTs (Feed-in Tariff), were enacted the UK solar industry has been hard hit. Multiple solar installation companies have gone into administration as demand has reduced. The tariff cut has meant that the high up-front costs of installing solar are no longer easily off-set by selling electricity back into the grid over the life of the panels.
The Guardian has covered the decimation of the industry in this recent article.
What this means for CREW and other community energy groups like us, is that solar projects have become far less financially viable, especially in a city like London, where land availability and air pollution already reduced the generative capacity of solar panels compared to rural projects.
CREW is no longer able to offer solar projects in the same guise, as the guaranteed opportunity to earn back enough money from the panels to pay interest back to banks, community shareholders is no longer assured.
Luckily this doesn’t stop us from doing solar projects. However, we are adapting our business models and financing approaches to ensure we can launch financially viable and environmentally effective projects, ensuring that all community shareholders are paid a fair rate of return on investment.