Council gives nod to community-owned solar panel project in Hackney estate
The future of a community solar panel project which will allow residents to own and manage their energy supply has been guaranteed with a 20-year stamp of approval by Hackney Council.
Work can now begin on the installation of PV solar cells on 14 buildings of the Homerton estate after the Cabinet last week granted a roof lease agreement spanning two decades to the Bannister House Energy Co-operative.
The pioneering initiative, led by not-for-profit group Repowering London, will allow residents to own and invest in renewable energy, control their energy generation and usage, tackle fuel poverty, as well as provide employment opportunities and training for local people.
Funding for the solar installation will soon be open to estate residents and the wider public who will be rewarded by being made shareholders. Full details on the share-offer are available on the Hackney Energy website, below.
The scheme will generate income in three ways: primarily from the government's Feed in Tariff which pays renewable energy creators a fixed fee for every unit of electricity generated; secondly, the council will directly buy a proportion of the energy generated by the solar installation; and the remainder will be exported to the national grid and sold at market value.
As well as a financial return for investors, the Community Energy Efficiency Fund has been set up which will see 20 per cent of the project’s income used to promote greener living on the Banister House Estate and help deal with fuel poverty.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Sustainability, said: “I‘m delighted that the Co-operative has been awarded the roof lease agreement. It means they will now be able to produce clean, renewable energy for the estate over the next 20 years. This is an incredible, forward-looking project that at once directly benefits estate residents, the wider community and the environment. “I would like to thank everyone in the Co-operative, the Council and Hackney Homes who have worked so hard to get to this stage.
The Co-operative has also set up a paid apprenticeship programme for young people on the estate training them, among other things, on the installation of the PV system on the roofs.
JoJu Solar and Athena Electrical, two businesses based in Hackney, have won the contract to install the panels and will continue the internship programme.
For further information and to register your interest in the project, please visit the Hackney Energy website: http://www.hackneyenergy.org.uk/banister-house/