Group of young people on a roof with solar panel

London Community Energy Fund

Applications for this grant closed on 29 November 2017. Following an assessment of phase one we currently plan to undertake a second round of funding in 2018/19.

The Mayor wants to see more communities involved in producing energy locally and helping to reduce energy use. To help get community projects off the ground he has created the London Community Energy Fund.

The first phase of the London Community Energy Fund will support the development of community solar energy projects (solar photovoltaics and solar thermal). The Mayor’s Solar Action Plan outlines his approach to putting London on track to achieving 2 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity by 2050. This will make an important contribution to his zero carbon London target and his target for decentralised energy. 

The London Community Energy Fund 2017/18 will offer grants of up to £15,000. This can be used to support the development stages of community solar projects (including storage technologies). Funding could be used, for example, to carry out preliminary viability studies for solar energy or develop a financial business case. We want to fund work required to get a community energy project ‘investor ready’, that means ready to be financed.

Resources and support

Community energy groups starting new projects can receive support from Community Energy London. They can help with planning and advice as well as providing networking opportunities for groups to share their experiences. Groups should also visit the UK Power Networks website for helpful resources on community energy and how to connect to the grid.

2017/18 Funded Projects

13 projects have been awarded funding in the first phase of the London Community Energy Fund across eight boroughs. The successful proposals include developing solar projects on schools, community centres, churches, sports centres and other buildings used by local communities. The total amount of grant offered to these projects by the scheme is around £150,000. Community energy groups will then seek funding for projects that are feasible and go on to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels by the end of 2018.

Battersea Arts Centre Solar 
Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth (CREW) has been awarded £15,000 to undertake development work for a project to install around 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. 

Calthorpe Energy Lab
The Calthorpe Project in Camden 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 solar panel installation and also draft a share offer.

Caversham Group Practice
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.

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 aim is not only to provide cheaper electricity for the schools but also inspire a generation by reaching to approximately 6,000 pupils and staff directly, as well as their extended families.

Energy Local Brixton
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 panels 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.

Heathview Tenant’s Cooperative Solar Power Project
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.

Kentish Town City Farm
Power Up North London has been awarded £9,700 to establish if 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 panel installation of about 11kWp, to the production of a community share offer.

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. 

New River Sports Centre
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.

RBKC Community Energy
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 own 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.

Rooftop Solar PV at Hornsey Girls School 
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.

SELCE Greenwich
South East London Community Energy has been awarded £14,999 to produce business cases for the installation of solar panels on two leisure centres in Greenwich, the Thamesmere 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.

Walworth Methodist Church Solar Project
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.