Against all the odds 2020 has been a great year for BEC!
It’s our 10th birthday – yes, it’s been a decade since we sparked off Brighton’s first Community Owned renewable energy project back in 2010 – and to celebrate we completed 6 new solar energy projects, adding a further 435kW to our community funded solar energy production. We now produce 3% of Brighton & Hove’s electricity!
This year Brighton Energy Co-op installed a 60kW solar PV system on our 13th local school, Balfour Juniors, plus a massive 100kW system on Greater Brighton MET College, who are now considering several more of their buildings. We have also commissioned a ground-breaking research project to develop a local network of solar chargers for Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Greater Brighton MET now have a 100kW system & are considering other buildings
Our office expanded to welcome our new Communications & Community Fund Manager, Atlanta Cook, along with paid interns to get a few projects off the back burner and ready for 2021. BEC recruited 4 part-time interns, to take on various roles within the organisation, including the creation of a ‘BEC 10 Year History’ – a useful case study with lessons learnt for future policy makers – and an updated BEC Operations Manual. While the internships are not full-time positions we hope that experience within the organisation, and understanding of how BEC works will help them in their future careers as sustainability practitioners.
All our schools benefit from our #SolarForSchools Education Programme
Our #SolarForSchools project, which saw 13 Brighton & Hove schools receive free solar systems has a related Education Programme, funded by our BEC Community Fund. This is being redeveloped to ensure local school children understand the renewables technology on their roofs. BEC wants Brighton & Hove’s school children to benefit from the cheap solar electricity, reduced carbon emissions and a ‘hands on’ education that demystifies the clean, green technology on their school building.
Solar trains company receives funding from Thrive Renewables & Friends Provident Foundation
In other good news…
Riding Sunbeams is a world-leading innovator, focussed on decarbonising rail traction networks through the development and connection of solar, wind and energy storage assets.
Direct supply of solar power to rail traction systems had never been done. But it has huge potential – from metros, trams and railways in the UK and around the world. After extensive feasibility work and research, we connected the first pilot solar panels to the railway in 2019. World-leading solar rail pioneer Riding Sunbeams has secured its first commercial funding from Thrive Renewables and Friends Provident Foundation, in exchange for a minority shareholding in the business and an active role in governance.
Riding Sunbeams will use the investment to develop a pipeline of new renewable energy projects in South East England and the Valleys in South Wales, to deliver on its aim to help decarbonise the rail system and benefit commuters and local communities. Read the full story here
Egni Co-op are aiming to install 5MW – the biggest rollout of solar power in Welsh history!
Engi develop rooftop solar energy in Wales to generate clean energy, enabling their sites to take action on climate change and be more financially stable. They are seriously close to their £3million target and through their co-op share offer they also give people the chance to invest their money towards in a more sustainable future and get a fair rate of return.
YnNi Teg (Welsh for Fair Energy), who own a 900kW wind turbine in Carmarthenshire, have closed their 3rd Bond smashing their target of £200k, by raising over £250k.
Positve effects of fossil fuel use reduction
We also celebrated the reduction in global fossil fuel use that the extraordinary year of 2020 has brought about, and the multitude of benefits to wildlife and humans this provided. Brighton Energy Co-op continues to support the shift towards cleaner local energy production that moves us towards real energy security to ‘keep the lights on’.
Thank you all so much for being part of the transition to community owned solar energy in Brighton & Hove. We couldn’t do any of it without you, so we hope you’ll also be celebrating 10 years of us!
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Brighton Energy Co-op