Group of young people on a roof with solar panel

London Community Energy Fund

The second round of the Mayor’s London Community Energy Fund is now open and we want to hear your ideas!

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 created the London Community Energy Fund in 2017.

The first phase of the London Community Energy Fund supported 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. Community projects make an important contribution to the Mayor’s aims to supply the capital with more local clean energy and his target to make London a zero carbon city by 2050. Details of projects supported in the 2017/18 round of funding are shown below.

About the funding

The London Community Energy Fund 2018/19 will again offer grants of up to £15,000. This can be used to support the development stages of a wide range of community energy projects, including both clean generation and energy demand reduction. Funding could be used, for example, to carry out preliminary viability studies 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. 
 

Solar PV projects
The national Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is due to close to new applicants from April 2019 and so we encourage groups considering solar PV projects to apply as soon as possible. Funding will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis for solar projects aiming to utilise the national (FiT) before it is closed to new registrants. More details are shown below.

How to apply

The London Community Energy Fund is open to London-based community groups. To apply please read the prospectus and submit the relevant application form (there are two application forms for this round of funding): 

  • Solar PV projects (relying on the FiT) should use application form 1 (solar “fast-track”). The allocation of funding will be based on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis where applications will be assessed individually as soon as they are received. Applications that meet the funding criteria will be offered a grant to enable the community group to start development work as soon as possible so that solar panels are registered or pre-registered for the FiT by 31 March 2019.
     
  • All other projects (including solar projects) that are not reliant on the FiT should use application form 2. This will involve a competitive assessment process whereby all applications received by the deadline will be assessed and scored by a panel of experts.

The deadline for applications is 2 November at 5pm. Timescales are covered in more detail in the Prospectus. We will consider running a second round of grant funding in the 2018/19 financial year depending on the success of this phase.

London Community Energy Fund Application 1

London Community Energy Fund Application 2

LCEF Frequently Asked Questions

2017/18 Funded Projects

13 projects were initially awarded funding in the first phase of the London Community Energy Fund across eight boroughs. The 11 projects below progressed through early viability assessments and include developing solar projects on schools, community centres, churches, sports centres and other buildings used by local communities. The grant amount offered to these projects in total is around £130,000. Community energy groups are installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for feasible projects by the end of 2018.

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.

LUX
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.

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.  

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.