Four community share offers launched by Energy4All have raised a total of £5.5m.
One of these, a 500kW hydro scheme at Rumbling Bridge in Kinross-shire will be the largest community-owned hydro scheme in the UK.
Another project is Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op, which raised £1.5million to install solar panels on up to 25 publicly owned buildings in the city. The energy will be used by the council, helping save nearly a thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
“We’ve been delighted by the public response to our share offer, with more money raised than we were aiming for, despite changes in the UK government’s rules which meant we had to close the offer early,” said Richard Dixon, chair of Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op and director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.
Thanks to another share offer, Schools Energy Co-operative – which already has solar installations on seven schools in southern England – will be expanded. Western Community Energy Society will also build a 35kW hydro scheme in Cumbria.
I am concerned about the longer-term outlook
Mike Smyth, chair of Energy4All, said: “These projects will provide material environmental benefit by reducing carbon emissions and give their members a chance to participate actively in making a positive and constructive response to climate change. In addition, they will all provide substantial community and educational benefits for the next 20 years.”
He added: “The changes in government policy have created difficulties for the sector. Even so, Energy4All is looking forward to 2016 as we have some exciting and innovative projects in our pipeline although it is difficult to know how future community share offers like these will fare without tax relief. I am also concerned about the longer-term outlook particularly for the rooftop solar sector once the existing pipeline of projects is exhausted.
“Thanks to the previous system of pre-accreditation our current projects have the benefit of the higher rates of feed-in tariff dating from last autumn, which means they are viable although margins are tight. The new rates of feed-in tariff and other changes to the scheme which the Government announced just before Christmas and the uncertainty of whether these rates will actually be obtainable in my opinion will prevent the typical school project from proceeding.”
Since its creation in 2002 Energy4All, which is owned by the co-operatives it serves, has raised capital of over £50m for community energy projects and all of its projects have managed to raise the required funding for construction.
In this article
- Abundance Generation
- Community energy projects
- Feed-in Tariff
- Friends of the Earth
- Mike Smyth
- Renewable energy policy
- Renewable-energy economy
- Renewable-energy law
- Richard Dixon
- Schools Energy Co-operative
- United Kingdom
- Western Community Energy Society
- United Kingdom
- Top Stories