Brighton Energy Coop Community Fund

Brighton Energy Coop’s Community Fund is open for any organisation in Brighton and Hove, East or West Sussex. Each year BEC members vote to allocate the fund’s cash to local renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Applications are welcome from any local organisation operating in Brighton and Hove, East or West Sussex.

This year applications for the BEC Community Fund are open until 8th December 2017. We intend to announce the winner in the New Year, and to allocate the money by March 2018.

How to apply

Download and read the Application Guidelines here.

Complete the online Application Webform or send the offline Application Form via email with the subject “BEC community fund” to stefania [at] or via post to 7, 47 Montpelier Road, Brighton, BN1 3BA.

Winner 2015: Brighton Earthship

Installation of 4kWp of solar panels to increase renewable energy generating capacity.

The Earthship Brighton is an off grid community and education centre in Preston Park in Brighton. It gets around 3,000 visitors a year: 1,600 local school children, 250 participants on Green Building Courses (including ‘Introduction to Photovoltaics’) and over 1000 visitors on tours. After running the centre for 10 years, The LCT needed to increase the renewable electricity generating capacity. There was an existing 1 kWp of solar panels and this project added an additional 3 kWp. This achievement allowed the earthship to run purely on solar electricity.

Electricity is stored in batteries with a backup generator running on plant oil or bio-diesel to top up the batteries if required. This makes the Earthship Brighton the only zero carbon off grid building that that people can visit in Sussex.

Project cost:
£3,150. BEC funds covered 79% of project costs, for capital equipment: 12 x 250 W mono -crystalline PV modules + fixing.

Measurable saving: 4000 kWh / year electricity, provided by off-grid solar generation at EarthShip

Educative output:
Offgrid renewable energy showcase; Ongoing environmental education program: Tours; Eco-days, Green Building Courses, including ‘Introduction to Photovoltaics’( ~250 pp/year).

Social benefit to community:
Educational venue

The Applicant:
The Low Carbon Trust (LCT) is a not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 2001 to set up, manage and promote environmental projects (including the Brighton Earthship). Its main objective is tackling climate change through highlighting the connection between buildings, energy use and carbon emissions.

“Now that the Earthship Brighton runs on renewable electricity again our visitors are inspired by a fully functioning earthship powered by the sun!”

Misha Hewitt, Chairman of the Low Carbon Trust

Winner 2016: BHESCo's 'Warmth for Wellbeing' programme

In 2016 our members chose a very different beneficiary: Brighton and Hove Energy Services Coop (BHESCO). One of BHESCo’s activities is the ‘Warmth For Wellbeing’ programme, making homes warmer and more comfortable while also reducing monthly energy bills for those who may struggle to keep up.

BHESCo have completed over 200 free energy surveys around Brighton; BEC members voted to provide funds to carry out more free home energy surveys and implement measures for some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

Using the BEC Community Fund, BHESCO energy assessors visited 15 people in their homes to assess what could be done, without altering the structure of the property, to make it warmer and more energy efficient.  They then sourced the measures and went back a second time to install them.

In total BHESCO installed:

  • 15 Geo energy monitors
  • 60 LED lights
  • Draught-proofing to 8 windows and doors
  • 12 radiator reflector panels
  • 1 chimney balloon
  • and switched 5 people to a better energy tariff

“Thank you to BEC for giving us the opportunity to extend the work we have been doing in the area of fuel poverty in our city”

Diane Smith, Operations Director, BHESCO

Cost reduction on electricity bills (£)

Tonnes of annual CO2 saved

“I visited a man living on his own in rented accommodation Brighton to carry out an energy assessment.  He’s living in an old, inefficient building and struggles to afford to heat his home.  In fact, he very rarely turns his central heating on as he is afraid of incurring high energy costs.  He had also got into debt with his energy supplier and was having to pay almost double the amount for the energy he uses.  This causes him a lot of stress and worry on a daily basis as he is always concerned that he won’t be able to keep up the payments.  After talking through his situation with him, I called the energy supplier on his behalf to set up a repayment plan that’s easier for him to manage.  I also switched him to a cheaper energy tariff, subsequently saving him an estimated £170 per year.

Two weeks later, I visited him again to install some energy-saving measures such as LED lightbulbs, radiator reflector panels and a draught-excluder.  I also set up an energy monitor which enabled our client to measure exactly how much he is spending on electricity.  As a result of these measures, he now not only benefits from lower energy bills, but also is able to better manage his energy consumption at home, giving him the confidence to be able to turn the gas heating on during the winter.”

BHESCO energy assessor