Brighton Energy are on fire this month completing solar on three educational buildings and installing the first solar-connected electric vehicle (EV) charger in the South East.  With so much fantastic solar news coming through the BEC pipeline we hope you’re enjoying the sun’s rays as much as we are!

 

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 South’s First Solar-Connected EV Charger at Bolney Wine Estate

BEC installs first community owned, solar-linked electric car charge point in the South East

The first of our electric car charge points is now live at Bolney Wine Estate, near Haywards Heath in West Sussex.  Over 50% of Bolney’s electricity already comes from the two BEC-owned solar arrays on the winery and main café building.  Now visitors and staff can charge their electric vehicles from the same Sussex sunshine that ripens the grapes for Bolney’s award-winning wines.  The location is just off the A23/A272, making it convenient for those that need a top-up on the long stretch of roads with few other charge points.  

These Pod Point twin charge points are the first of the BEC network we’re adding to some of our existing solar sites, as part of a project funded by the Power to Change Next Generation Community Energy Programme.  We’re installing at different types of sites to gain understandings into the charging behaviours of different electric vehicle users e.g. work place, leisure sites & schools, so we can develop solar & charging offers for the future.  Watch this space and our social media for announcements as the new ones go live.

We’re also keen to understand your views about EV charging, whether you’ve already made the switch, are thinking about it or have never considered it.  Please take 5 minds to answer our questionnaire here. 

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Brighton MET College Pelham Street Campus Gets Two Free BEC Solar Arrays

Greater Brighton MET College has turned out to be a fantastic partner for BEC. 

With two BEC solar arrays already in installed on their East Brighton Campus on Wilson Avenue (100kW Oct 2020) and their West Durrington Campus (60kW Nov 2020), adding two further arrays to their Central Brighton Campus on Pelham Street is moving the college closer to their carbon reduction goal.  The 120kW system installed on the newly completed entrance redevelopment will also save GBMC a further £7000 each year on their energy bill. An ideal partnership for us both!  

“We have worked closely with Brighton Energy over the last year to install solar PV on our sites in Worthing and Brighton.  Brighton Energy have been helpful, responsive to our requirements, and really straightforward to work with.” John Rollings – Chief Operating Officer GBMC 

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GBMC Building & Contracts Manager, Chris Tuft joined BEC Co-founders, Will Cottrell & Damain Tow, BEC Project Manager, Matt Brown, and GenFit Site Manager, David Cowley, on the roof of the new Pelham Street entrance building to take a look at the new solar installation and take in the spectacular city views.  The Pelham Street redevelopment was completed at the end of March and provides brand new state of the art facilities for the students and staff.  To find out more about Greater Brighton Metropolitan College click here 

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Westdene Primary becomes BEC’s 11th Solar School in Brighton & Hove

Brighton Energy Co-op (BEC) proudly welcomes Westdene Primary School & Nursery to the BEC Solar Schools fold.  With the money raised through Brighton Energy Co-op Membership, BEC has been able to install 60kW of Solar PV on the school roof to reduce the school’s electricity bills and carbon (CO2) emissions.  Thanks to you, our wonderful BEC Members, the school doesn’t have to pay a penny towards the installation!  Westdene School will start saving money and reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere immediately!

Brighton Energy Co-op have been working with the forward-thinking school staff and governors to give the school a cleaner and more sustainable energy system, that also helps ensure energy security for the UK as a whole.  Community-owned, locally produced renewable energy is a simple way we can all help the UK achieve Net Zero by 2050, to reduce harmful levels of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.

There’s a fair amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to get the solar system onto the school roof, so WELL DONE to all involved!  Westdene is the 11th Brighton & Hove school BEC have given solar panels to, but we need more local schools to move boldly towards a ‘future proofed’ energy system that helps the environment.

Do you know a school that might wish to come on board? Talk to your head teacher and see what they think.  You can contact us here.

Westdene Primary School & Nursery is located in the leafy central valley between the A27 and London Road, on the northern outskirts of Brighton.  It is a popular school with over 440 infant and junior aged (3 to 11 years) pupils on the roll.  You can find out more about this eco-minded school click here. 

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£200k Raised in 3 Days for More Solar in Brighton & Hove

The latest BEC share offer issued last month smashed its target of £197k in just 3 days.  Brighton Energy was raising money for more solar in Brighton & Hove, including local schools and college sites.  Brighton Energy members snapped up the shares with a further 50 people who missed the offer signing up to invest in the next round. We are so encouraged to see our members continuing to drive the expansion of community-owned locally produced renewables in our city.  Thank you!

If you are interested in joining BEC for our next round of projects let us know here.

In other good news…

Watch This Space For An Exciting New BEC Offer For Local Businesses

Later this month BEC plans to launch a new offer for small businesses which will be a 40% grant off the cost of a solar PV array, or solar PV and electric vehicle charging point. If you would like to register your interest in advance of the launch, please email damian@brightonenergy.org.uk

Cuckmere Community Solar – a world first!

Cuckmere Community Solar has an ambition to power the rail network in East Sussex with solar energy – a world first. Working in collaboration with Riding Sunbeams, the organisation aims that its pioneering project will establish a template that can be used by other future solar-powered rail initiatives.  Cuckmere Community Solar plans to build a new 4MW solar farm at Berwick, East Sussex. This will enable the local community to benefit from a higher income from renewable energy generation, and for the rail network to benefit from cheaper, low carbon power. The Rural Community Energy Fund has provided grant funding for the development stage of the project. This includes the cost of studies, land agreements, investigation of the connection point and legal work. RCEF Project award: Stage 2 development grant £95.5k. 

 The project has also recently received capital funding support from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership‘s £85 million share of the government’s Getting Building Fund, which aims to help economic recovery. The new funding will support the capital costs of the 4MW solar farm. Find out more here

 

We’ve certainly sprung into Spring and there’s no sign of slowing down so watch this space for even more community owned, local solar energy generation.  We’re always on the lookout for more potential solar PV and EV charge point sites and have some big projects in the pipeline!

A sincere thank you, as always, for the continued support and encouragement from our Members.  None of these free solar systems would be installed without their belief in a world free of fossil fuels and the power of their ethical investment.

Don’t forget to Sign up to our punchy newsletter to hear when we are recruiting next and more opportunities to invest in solar energy for your local community. 

Best wishes,
Brighton Energy Co-op

 

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