As a social enterprise, Brighton Energy Coop is all about community investment in renewable energy. It’s a simple idea: basically everyone puts in a bit of cash and collectively we us this to build 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 £1.9m of community-funded solar PV.
Join BEC and Help our Schools go Solar!
You can help us grow: by joining Brighton Energy Coop you’ll be part of a community that creates more and more renewable energy. Our latest projects are focussed on solar on schools and educational buildings around our city – see below for details.
NEW PROJECT: Woodingdean Primary School, Woodingdean
High up on the Sussex Downs, Woodingdean Primary School is the first of our partnerships with Brighton and Hove City Council. Woodingdean will be a 60kWp system, and as well as providing educational resources to the children, our solar system will save the school thousands on their electricity bills each year. Join BE here to make it happen.
NEW PROJECT: Carden Primary School, Hollingbury
Tucked in a high corner of Brighton’s Hollingbury, Carden Primary School’s south-facing roofs are a great home for BEC’s proposed 240kWp solar system. Our locally-owned green energy system will build on the school’s already strong links with the community, and provide clean power to 400 three to eleven year olds. Help us build new solar at Carden.
NEW PROJECT: Coldean Primary School, Coldean
Coldean Primary School is home to 370 four to eleven year olds, and another pioneer of Brighton and Hove City Council’s solar schools program. Our new 60kWp solar system will provide a fine decoration for the school’s roofs, and will sit just up the road from BEC’s 3-year old solar system at Varley Halls, part of the University of Brighton campus. Let’s get solar on Coldean’s roof!
NEW PROJECT: Grand Parade Building, University of Brighton
Grand Parade is the fourth of our ongoing partnership with the University of Brighton. Grand Parade will be a 60kWp solar system, and join community-owned systems on the University’s Varley Halls of Residence, Hillbrow Sports Centre and Robert Dodd library rooftops. Help us build this impressive solar system by joining BEC.
NEW PROJECT: Lady Bee Business Centre, Shoreham Port
Our seven-year partnership with Shoreham Port will soon see two additional installations: the Lady Bee Business Centre, and Maritme House with 90 and 30 kWp solar systems respectively. We’ve worked with Shoreham Port for many years now, and these systems will add to our community-owned solar at Hove Enterprise Centre and Sheds 10 and 3a. Help the Bee go solar!
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 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.
Benefits of investing in Brighton Energy Co-operative
We aim to provide new members a return on investment of 5% a year, as we have for all our 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.
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 500 people are now members of Brighton Energy Coop; we’ve raised nearly £1,500,000 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.