This year has been a challenge for the community energy sector, with uncertainty around the future of the feed-in-tariff scheme raising questions about the financial viability of new projects. However, 2019 looks set to be off to a promising start for schemes in the capital, as the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, today announced development funding has been awarded to 18 new projects to be delivered in 2019.
This funding is from the second phase of the London Community Energy Fund (LCEF), an initiative by the Greater London Authority that aims to support community groups through the early development stages of energy projects. This can include undertaking feasibility studies, paying for technical consultancy fees or seeking legal advice.
Community Energy London Chair, Syed Ahmed, said:
“We welcome today’s announcement of further support by the Mayor for community energy projects across the capital. These 18 projects show the wealth of talent across London’s community energy groups, responding to the shift to a more decentralised, digital and democratised energy system, through schemes that will look to install electric vehicle charging points, add battery storage to solar PV and even developing a community off-grid hybrid renewable system.
The sector has had a tough year across the country, with warm words from government about supporting communities in their ambitions to help tackle climate change and produce cleaner energy for their neighbourhoods, but little in terms of real action to help them do so. The latest proposals from Ministers to remove the export tariff from community solar projects is yet another blow in and will result in, literally, communities giving away their power to big energy supply companies. The new LCEF2 solar projects will now be an a tight schedule to meet the FIT deadlines to install.”
Projects awarded support include community centres in Bromley-by-Bow, Islington and Hammersmith, a youth club in Wandsworth, further schools in Ealing, Harrow and Haringey, and a church in Lewisham, amongst others.
The first phase of the LCEF focussed on solar PV, and supported projects including a city farm in Kentish Town, schools in Ealing, community buildings in Kensington and Chelsea, a GP practice in Camden and a church in Southwark.
To celebrate the completion of the first of these projects, Shirley Rodrigues – London Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy – recently visited two neighbouring schools in Ealing, which now each have around 50kWp of solar installed, thanks to community groups, Ealing Transition and Schools Energy Co-op.
The Deputy Mayor met with members of these groups to unveil two 50kWp solar panel installations on the Mandeville and Horsenden schools, alongside Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, Head Teacher of Horsenden Primary School, Emma Appelby, Head Teacher of Mandeville School, Louise Feasey and Sustainability Programme Manager for Ealing, Jo Mortensen. Projects on a further 11 potential school installations in Ealing are now being explored.
List of LCEF Phase 2 projects:
18 community energy projects have been awarded a total of £182,000 in this second phase of the London Community Energy Fund, covering projects across 13 different London boroughs. The successful proposals include developing solar projects in time to still benefit from the Feed-in tariff (due to end in April 2019), installing electric vehicle charging points, adding battery storage to solar PV panels or even developing a community off-grid hybrid renewable system.
Projects awarded funding:
The charity The Aluna Foundation, partnering with South East London Community Energy (SELCE), has been awarded £14,607. This project will put up around 400 solar panels on the InterContinental Hotel and Ballroom roof, near the O2 in North Greenwich. The panels will provide renewable, low cost power to Aluna, a major zero carbon public landmark and waterfront space for London, which is in development at Point Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula Waterfront at 0° longitude, directly adjacent to the hotel. The project anticipates selling any surplus energy to the hotel, helping to reduce its carbon emissions.
BBBC Community Solar
Bromley-by-Bow Centre, in Tower Hamlets, has been awarded £11,950 towards a project to install solar panels on their community centre. They aim to install around 56 solar panels. The renewable system will be used to raise awareness of clean energy to their community and any profit form the FiT would go into a community fund that can be used to support existing fuel poverty advice services.
Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth (CREW) has been awarded £12,500 to upgrade the LED lighting and Building Management System at the Devas Youth Club in Wandsworth. This will reduce carbon emissions by 35 per cent at the centre. It will also make long-term savings on energy bills, enabling income to be spent on service delivery to young people or other essential building upgrades. Funding will come from a community share offer.
Ealing Schools, Second Wave
Following their successful project under Phase 1, Ealing Transition, in partnership with the School’s Energy Cooperative, has been awarded £15,000 to look at the feasibility of installing solar panels on a further five to six schools in Ealing. They hope to install approximately 480 solar panels. One of the aims is not only to provide cheaper electricity for the schools but also to inspire pupils, families and staff to become renewable energy champions.
Ealing and Harrow Schools
A second Ealing Transition/School’s Energy Cooperative project, has been awarded £15,000 to carry out structural surveys and feasibility studies to install solar panels on more schools in Ealing, as well as to lay the foundation for up to 12 schools in the neighbouring borough of Harrow. The project hopes to install around 400-480 solar panels.
Edward Woods Community Centre
London Sustainable Exchange (LSx) has been awarded £6,130 to install solar panels on the Edward Woods Community Centre in Hammersmith & Fulham. The owners of the community centre hope the electricity savings and income from the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) will be able to fund additional projects at the community centre, such as increasing the capacity of the Community Kitchen. They hope to install around 85 solar panels, which should generate just under 20,000 kWh per year.
Elizabeth House Community Centre
Highbury Vale Blackstock Trust has been awarded £2,666 to finish development and feasibility work towards the installation of solar panels on Elizabeth House community centre, Islington. They hope to install around 45 solar panels.
En10ergy has been awarded £4,350 to explore installing solar panels on the roof of Fortismere School’s science block in Haringey. The school will use 100 per cent of the electricity generated. They hope to install around 120 solar panels.
South East London Community Energy (SELCE) has been awarded £14,901 to develop a model towards energy efficiency improvement and behavioural change for the-able-to-pay domestic market. Homeowners can choose to have a thorough survey of their property which will highlight where energy efficiency work could save them money and help them switch to green energy providers. They aim to reach 400 people.
Holly Lodge EV
Holly Lodge Estate Committee has been awarded £1,882 to develop a project and get planning permission to install electric vehicle charging stations on the Holly Lodge Estate in Camden.
South East London Community Energy (SELCE) has also been awarded £14,837 to develop a business model for solar panels on housing cooperatives. Housing blocks comprise a significant portion of roofs in London but have historically lacked the self-consumption to make a solar PV system financially viable. SELCE will develop a model to make such installation financially viable and benefit housing cooperatives. The capital will be raised through a community share offer.
Lambeth Community Energy
Repowering has been awarded £15,000 to look at installing solar panels on four buildings owned by Lambeth Council and one academy school. In order to get the FiT before it ends, Repowering would seek funding from a bridging loan and then a community share offer. They hope to install around 800 solar panels.
London Sustainable Exchange (LSx) has been awarded a second grant of £6,130 to install solar panels on the Masbro Centre in Hammersmith & Fulham. The electricity savings and income from the FiT will help fund additional projects at the community centre. They hope to install around 68 solar panels, which would generate about 15,000 kWh per year.
Newberry House Cooperative has been awarded £9,740 to maximise benefits of solar panels which are about to be installed on this housing coop building in Islington. This project will look at the feasibility of supplementing the solar installation with electrical storage, on-site electric vehicle charging points, upgrading lighting to LED and guidance for residents on external wall insulation.
NKCE phase 2 – Westway
Building on the first phase of the North Kensington Community Energy (NKCE) project, which was funded through LCEF phase 1, Repowering has been awarded £7,370 to develop phase 2. Repowering will explore feasibility for solar on the Westway Leisure Centre in North Kensington. They anticipate being able to install as many as 800 solar panels (200kWp). Capital cost will be raised through a community share offer.
Portsoken Community Energy Group has been awarded £12,450 to develop a project aiming to install around 200 solar panels on the Middlesex Street Estate (City of London), which includes flats, a library and a community centre. The project will be supported by Repowering London and also funded through a community share offer.
Public Works has been awarded £8,686 towards the development of a small off-grid, hybrid renewable energy system. The system could combine micro anaerobic digestion (AD), solar thermal, solar photovoltaic and wind technology. The micro-AD plant will generate power from waste collected (by bicycle) from 35 local households.
St Luke’s Church of England
South East London Community Energy (SELCE) has been awarded £8,772 to investigate installing up to 140 solar panels on St Luke’s Church of England, Downham. The church is an important community space hosting pensioners groups, mothers’ mornings and dance groups. It has high electricity consumption and the church wants to reduce its carbon footprint. SELCE will aim to finance the project through a community share offer.
Notes to editors
1. A full list of successful LCEF applications supported can be see on the Greater London Authority’s London Community Energy Fund web page
2. The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) launched a consultation on the proposed changes to the Feed in Tariffs scheme in July 2018. Community Energy London’ response is available here: http://communityenergy.london/news/17-09-18-cel-res…its-consultation/
3. Community Energy London (CEL) was formed in 2017 and is an informal network of people and organisations with an interest in supporting the development of community energy projects across the capital.
CEL members have provided guidance and training on fuel poverty alleviation; have developed, fund raised and installed renewable energy generation projects such as solar PV and anaerobic digestion plant (AD); and worked on energy efficiency projects from insulation to high efficiency LED lighting.
CEL provides a route for groups to link up and share experiences, resources, best practice and skills gained through the development and delivery of their projects.
CEL also actively campaigns policy makers industry and wider stakeholders on the benefits for community energy, and worked closely with the Mayor of London in helping establish the London Community Energy Fund in October 2017.
Details of CEL’s members can be found at www.communityenergy.london
For further information contact Fleur Disney, Community Energy London officer, [email protected], 07803 582 740