Homerton residents form Hackney's first solar energy cooperative

Banister House

Hackney's first energy co-op has been formed by residents on the Banister House estate in Homerton who are keen to benefit from internships and work experience as well as a ring fenced community fund.

Hackney Council has provided seed funding for the project, Hackney Energy which has been founded in conjunction with energy firm, Repowering London.

The next step will be the installation of solar panels on the estate to begin generating zero carbon electricity.

Door knocking and community engagement on the Banister House estate showed that 85 per cent of the residents support the installation of community-owned solar panels on Banister House estate. The remaining 15 per cent said they were interested in the project. 

Ann Canaii, Chair of the Banister Tenants association, said: "I've lived on this estate for seven years and seen what good hard work can create. I'm excited about having our own solar energy co-operative on Banister House estate. I run a soup kitchen in the community centre. Today we cook local food and tomorrow we will make local energy. I hope it will make a difference to our community."

So far more than 20 young people on the Banister House estate have also expressed an interest in joining Repowering London's 20 week internship programme.

Young people joining the programme learn about the financial, technical, media, legal and structural elements of a renewable energy cooperative.

They will then gain training in energy efficiency and draught busting, following which they gain work experience installing solar panels with professional contractors.  

Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Hackney Council
I am really pleased that through the Council providing the initial funding for Repowering London, an energy co-operative is being set up in the borough. We look forward to working with and supporting Repowering and Hackney Energy throughout the project. The survey work carried out by Repowering London and Hackney Energy on Banister House estate shows the support that local communities have for this type of innovative project and the opportunity that it presents.
Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Hackney Council

Millie Darling, Chair of Hackney Energy, said: "These projects bring many opportunities for young people like myself to get involved and learn about the setting up of cooperatives and the installation of solar panels."

Members of the cooperative will decide how the community fund is spent. On a similar Repowering London project in Brixton, the co-operative voted to allocate 20 per cent of the revenue generated into a community fund to tackle fuel poverty and raise awareness of energy efficiency.

Agamemnon Otero, Chief Executive of Repowering London, said: "Creating locally owned energy cooperatives with one vote and one share allows citizens to have a say in not only their energy but in employment and community infrastructure investment."