Hastings will see its first ever community energy investment offer go live this week with residents 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 can expect a 5% return (dividend) on their shares.
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 about £4,250 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 the Diocese of Chichester, 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.
Leader of the Council, Peter Chowney, writes
" It's good to see schemes like this taking shape. I want Hastings to be leading the way in shaping a 'carbon neutral' economy, so we need to do all we can to generate energy sustainably. Hastings Council has ambitious plans to use our own land and other buildings for energy generation, so I hope the council will be able to work with Energise Sussex Coast to make Hastings a 'carbon neutral' town."
Amber Rudd MP adds,
“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. For more information or to invest visit https://brightonenergy.org.uk/1066-local-energy/ or email email@example.com
Notes to editors
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 29 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 their 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/
“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 delighted that Ore Valley College has
joined the groundswell of educational organisations getting on board with community energy.” – Will Cottrell, founder and Director of Brighton Energy Co-op
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