Brighton Energy Coop is a simple idea: everyone puts in a bit of cash and collectively builds big solar energy systems. Money from selling this solar electricity gets distributed back to members, and to our Community Fund.
We have hundreds of members from in and out of the Brighton area – together we’ve already built more than £3million of community-funded solar PV.
Total money (£3 million) raised by the community
Large scale solar installations built in and around Brighton & Hove
Members of Brighton Energy Co-op - and rising!
LATEST PROJECT: Hove Park Upper & Lower Schools, Brighton
Hove Park School is a mixed secondary school and sixth form centre spread over two sites in Hove. With several great south-facing roofs, we installed two solar systems here in early 2020, which now green the schools energy supply and provide an excellent educational resource. See all our solar projects here
LATEST PROJECT: Blatchington Mill Secondary School, Brighton
Tucked in a high corner of Hove, Blatchington Mill School’s south-facing roofs are a great home for BEC’s 200kWp solar system. Our locally-owned green energy system builds on the school’s already strong links with the community, and provides clean power to the teaching staff and 400 students. See all our solar systems here.
Community Investment in Brighton Solar
We raise money via investment from the wider community. By pooling resources it’s possible to raise large amounts of cash – other UK community energy organisations have raised as much as £20m of community investment for community energy projects in their locales.
To raise money and install solar panels we sell shares in Brighton Energy Coop, a form of co-operative known as a Community Benefit Society (CBS). 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.
What does BEC membership mean?
We provide members a return on investment of 5% a year, starting 12-18 months after each project is installed.
5% of capital is also available for repayment each year.
The minimum shareholding is £300.
The maximum is £100,000.
For more details on becoming a Brighton Energy Co-operative member see here.
The Story of community energy in Brighton
Brighton community energy sprang to life in 2010. After six months of planning 8 people invested the start up capital that led to our first share launch in 2012.
During this period 120 people joined BEC, and we built our first solar PV systems.
Since then we have been mentored by many different organisations and have achieved press coverage both locally and nationally. More than 700 people are now members of Brighton Energy Coop; we’ve raised nearly £3,000,000 and built many big solar PV systems.
For a detailed look at how we got started check out the Sussex University research project on BEC here.