Hi folks,

Welcome to our new members newsletter. Read on for what BEC has been up to over the past few months, including new solar builds, our exciting new electric car charge point programme, BEC members at Extinction Rebellion in London – not to forget our AGM!

Welcome also to all our new members of late; in the last six months 200 people have joined up – a big hello to you all.

We’ve also recently taken on Kelly Dibbert as our community manager. Some of you might know Kelly from her role at Brighton’s Big Lemon; Kelly joins us to oversee community engagement (this newsletter is part of it) and our community fund.

So: I’ll hand this over to Kelly, and I hope you’re all well.

Will, Chairman, Brighton Energy Coop

BEC donates £1000 to Brighton Extinction Rebellion

A few months ago, the BEC board made a unanimous decision; to donate £1000 to the Brighton chapter of Extinction Rebellion. Our donation helped XR Brighton’s hire of venues (there are four meetings a week), printing costs and other back-office functions, all of which is pointed at getting more people involved in the rebellion.

Many BEC members are involved with Extinction Rebellion (some were arrested in London). We thank them all, and hope to continue to support XR in the future.

Ten New Solar Systems built since April!

Coldean Primary – with a swimming pool now powered by the sun!

We’ve been busy rolling out free solar arrays to schools across the city and to a new school in Crawley, with a nice vineyard at Bolney for good measure!

Since April we’ve built the following:

April – Coldean Primary– 60kWp
April – Woodingdean Primary – 60 kWp
June – Bolney Wine Estate – 60 kWp
July – Hove Park Lower School – 60 kWp
July – Hertford Junior School – 60 kWp

60kWp of new solar at Woodingdean Primary School 

August – Blatchington Mill Secondary – 130kWp
August – Carden Primary School – 180kWp
October – Rudyard Kipling Primary School – 60kWp
October – Lindfield Primary School – 60kWp
October – Desmond Anderson Primary – 60kwp

We continue to talk to new sites and have just finished a successful share raise with Ethex (which raised 650,000 since April). Our Solar Schools project continues – soon we will have solar on Balfour Junior School, West Blatchington and Hove Park Upper School. Watch this space.

Solar powered EV charge points coming soon

This winter we will be installing the first of six electric vehicle (EV) charge points at one of our existing solar arrays.  The plan is to add two more locations every six months until July 2021.  We will also research potential locations for EV charging ‘hubs’, where we can install new PV arrays.

We’ll be measuring charging usage over 2 years of the project to discover whether it will provide sufficient additional income to make community owned solar PV viable post Feed in Tariff (FIT).

The project is funded by Power to Change New Generation Community Energy Programme. Five community energy organisations across the country have won up to £100,000 to test and strengthen a range of post-subsidy community energy business models.

We’ll be sharing the results with the community energy sector to help them understand if and how EV charging can contribute to the financial model for renewables.

Do you own an EV?

Do you live in Brighton or near one of our other arrays and own an electric vehicle? Would you prefer to charge your EV directly from the solar energy you part own? Drop me a line if you’d like to learn more kelly@brightonenergy.org.uk.

What have the team been up to?

Damian, our secretary and co-founder

….presented at Power to Change’s Future Models for community energy event on the Next Generation project linking EV charging and PV arrays. He inputted to the Greater Brighton Energy strategy on our proposals to install PV on carparks in the region, to help decarbonise EV charging. He also worked with Matt to oversee our new installations at Lindfield Primary academy and Desmond Anderson academy.

Will our Chair and Co-founder

…..has been at the Extinction Rebellion protests in London following the Autumn Uprising.

Will recently appeared on a panel hosted by MEP Alex Phillips at the Friends Meeting House, along with Caroline Lucas and Swedish MEP Alice Bah Kuhnke. To a packed audience the panel were quizzed on their views of sustainability and the New Green Deal. Will emphasised his view that the current political situation is not listening – and that after decades of good work we need to up our efforts, including taking civil disobedience.

Brighton Energy Coop AGM

In September we held our AGM at the Brighthelm Centre. 50 people came along and 74 sent their apologies. You can have a look at Will’s presentation here. 

The AGM also saw the end of the tenure of Terry Walker as a director of BEC. Terry has been with us for four years and was instrumental in overseeing BEC compliance. Terry will be sorely missed; consolations were provided by BEC co-founded Damian Tow in the form of a bottle of Scotch to thank Terry for his duties.

Terry’s departure means we have a vacancy on the BEC board; if you’re interested in getting inolved then we’re particularly looking for people with project management, financial oversight or compliance-related backgrounds. The BEC board is relaxed, and easy-going; many previous directors have commented upon how they have enjoyed the role.

See more information the role specification and details, plus how to apply here.

Events you might be interested in & members’ news…

Labour’s “Green New Deal”

The Labour Party are holding an event to find out what Brighton and Hove has in store to move the Labour Green Deal forward.

16th November 2019 – 10am-1pm at BHASVIC

Extinction Rebellion Brighton

If you’ve been inspired to find our more about XR then the Brighton meetings are all listed here.

Our sister cooperative BHESCO were winners at The Community Energy Awards this month. They won the Carbon Saving award. Well done guys!

We’d love to share our members news with you. If you have any news for the next newsletter give me a shout kelly@brightonenergy.org.uk

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