Mayor of London to boost clean energy with affordable solar panels
More Londoners will be able to afford solar panels on their homes, thanks to a new group-buying scheme from the Mayor of London and five London councils.
Interested householders and small businesses can now register with the Solar Together London scheme, which will use the power of group-purchasing to enable them to buy and install high-quality solar panels in a group, reducing costs for customers.
The first phase of the scheme is being rolled out this month, focussed on five London boroughs — Brent, Ealing, Kingston, Merton and Sutton. Similar schemes have operated in Norfolk, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
The scheme is part of Sadiq’s Energy for Londoners programme which aims to cut Londoners’ energy bills and supply the capital’s homes and workplaces with more local clean energy, helping to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050.
The Mayor is also awarding £150,000 of his London Community Energy Fund to 13 solar energy projects across eight boroughs, including solar panels on schools, churches, sports centres, and even a city farm.
Grants awarded will help fund the development costs associated with setting up solar projects before they can move to installation and start supplying clean and cheap electricity to the community.
The projects include solar for ten tower blocks in Lambeth, five schools in Ealing, a spectator stand at a sports centre in Haringey, and a Methodist Church in Southwark.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London has a wealth of buildings that can harness solar energy, but we're simply not making enough of them. Generating clean, local electricity can help cut bills, and bulk buying will make solar panels more affordable. I’m also working with Transport for London to expand the use of solar power and energy efficiency across their buildings. I’m delighted to see so much interest in community energy, which is just one part of my plan to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050.”
Dr. Giovanna Speciale, CEO, South East London Community Energy, said: “The London Community Energy Fund has provided vital support to community energy groups in London. It allows us to bring the benefits of renewable energy to schools, churches, and leisure centres. We are delighted to be working with Mayor to transform London into a clean, green, affordable city.”
Ruud Frijstein, UK Solar Manager of scheme partner, iChoosr, said: “Group buying is a proven solution. It offers householders a compelling price and gives installers access to much-needed customers. And the real winner is the environment.”
Afsheen Kabir Rashid, COO and co-founder, Repowering London said: “We are committed to creating local energy within socially-deprived neighbourhoods and challenging urban environments. The Mayor’s funding will help us perform technical assessments at schools and community buildings in Dalgarno in Kensington. Working with local residents and community groups, we can deliver community-owned solar energy, along with real opportunities for local tradesmen, residents, and young people.
Notes to editors
- Transport for London are set to expand their solar power usage and install energy efficiency measures across a variety of TfL owned buildings including bus stations and office buildings, in a new £4.5m refurbishment project.
- Householders and small businesses can now register their interest, without obligation, in a solar scheme at solartogetherlondon.com. On April 18, vetted UK solar panel suppliers will bid for the contracts. Each customer will then receive an offer, and if accepted, a technical study will be done,
- Separately, the Mayor’s Community Energy Fund has made 13 awards across eight boroughs, totalling roughly £150,000. The grants include:
Energy Local Brixton (Lambeth): The charity 10:10 has been awarded £14,878 to fund technical and financial modelling of the impact of battery storage, and an assessment of capacity and feasibility for solar photovoltaics on 10 housing blocks in Lambeth. This project is predominantly looking to maximise the use of existing solar installations. It aims to demonstrate a model for matching the electricity generated by the solar installation with the electricity usage of participating residents, who would be able to receive a special tariff as a result.
Calthorpe Energy Lab (Camden): The Calthorpe Project has been awarded £9,775 to undertake wider community engagement and develop a financially viable solar project on their community centre located in Kings Cross. Funding from the Mayor will enable the Calthorpe Project to complete a feasibility study and design for a solar PV installation and also draft a share offer.
Battersea Arts Centre Solar (Wandsworth): Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth (CREW) has been awarded £15,000 to undertake development work for a project to install about 50kWp of solar panels on the roof of the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) in Wandsworth. CREW anticipates that the panels will cover about 60% of BAC’s electricity demand. The project will also examine feasibility for energy storage on the site as some of the art centre’s electricity demand is at night time. Funds will be raised through a community share offer.
Ealing Schools: Ealing Transition, in partnership with Schools Energy Coop, has been awarded £15,000 to look at the feasibility of installing solar panels on five schools in the Borough of Ealing, hoping to achieve up to 140kWp of solar capacity. One of the aims is not only to provide cheaper electricity for the schools but also inspire generation by reaching approximately 6,000 pupils and staff directly, as well as their extended families.
New River Sports Centre (Haringey): En10ergy has been awarded £4,500 to develop a business case to install about 50kWp of solar panels on the roof on the spectator stand of the New River Sports Centre in Haringey. The sports centre would use all of the electricity generated by the solar panels and the project would strive to offer cheaper electricity to the sports centre. The panels would be community-owned through a community share offer and help raise awareness of renewable energy with users of the sports centre.
Rooftop Solar PV at Hornsey Girls School (Haringey): En10ergy has been awarded £4,900 to look at expanding solar panel installation on the roofs of Hornsey Girls School in Haringey. In total, if all the roofs are suitable, this project could provide up to 100kWp of solar electricity for the school. En10ergy will also provide educational opportunities for pupils of the schools to learn more about climate change, the carbon intensity of electricity and the benefits of solar energy.
Heathview Tenant’s Cooperative Solar Power Project (Barnet): Heathview Tenant’s Cooperative has been awarded £12,670 to undertake feasibility assessments of the roofs of their housing buildings to establish if they could install up to 50kWp of solar panels. It is expected that the solar project will provide power for the communal areas in these social housing buildings. It is also expected that it will be able to provide power in the future for tenants that wish to sign up to the project.
Caversham Group Practice (Camden): Power Up North London (PUNL) has been awarded £12,940 to develop a project to install about 29kWp of solar panels on the roof of the Caversham Group Practice (CGP), an established teaching and training practice in Camden with 15,000 registered patients. PUNL anticipates that the panels will save 20% - 25% on the practice’s electricity bills. The project will also look at the possibility of battery storage technology to enable use of extra energy captured during the day outside daytime hours.
Kentish Town City Farm (Camden): Power Up North London has been awarded £9,700 to establish whether the roof of a stable block could support solar panels at the Kentish Town City Farm, a community charity that helps city people connect with animals, nature and the environment. This roof is not shaded and is highly visible from the courtyard making it a good location to promote renewable energy technologies to visitors of the farm. The grant will fund development work from the technical feasibility assessment of the roof for a solar PV installation of about 11kWp, to the production of a community share offer.
LUX (Camden): Power Up North London has been awarded £11,500 to undertake a feasibility study for the installation of about 34kWp of solar panels on LUX, an international arts agency based within Waterlow Park, Camden. This study will also investigate the possibility of installing battery storage that could enable charging electric vehicles overnight to help tackle pollution and clean up the air in the park. This project should result in financial savings for LUX that will be reinvested in community events and other energy efficiency initiatives.
RBKC Community Energy (Kensington & Chelsea): Repowering London has been awarded £14,933 to develop community solar projects which would help the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea meet its target to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent from its on operations by 2020. This project will look at the feasibility of installing solar panels on sites such as schools, community buildings, a hospital and a leisure centre in the north of the Borough where there are one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in London and the UK. Altogether it is anticipated that these sites could produce up to 500kWp of solar power.
Walworth Methodist Church Solar Project (Southwark): Sustainable Energy 24 (SE24) has been awarded £11,425 to develop a project looking at installing about 50kWp of solar panels on Walworth Methodist Church in Southwark, a large, multi-building facility at the heart of a very diverse, local community. The group anticipates that once delivered the solar installation would create income for the SE24’s community benefit fund over the lifetime of the project. This community benefit fund will be used to tackle fuel poverty and increase awareness of climate change in the local area.
South East London Community Energy (Greenwich): Awarded £14,999 to produce business cases for the installation of solar panels on two leisure centres in Greenwich, the Thamesmede and the Coldharbour leisure centres. Both provide a range of valuable services to the local community, including pools, football pitches and gyms. These services require a large electrical load and large buildings and this project will look at installing at total of 70kWp on these buildings. Any financial surplus from the operation of the solar panels would be channelled into fuel poverty alleviation work.