Chase Community Solar

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Project

Chase Community Solar

Organisation

Chase Community Solar Ltd., with supporting organisations: Cannock Chase District Council, Southern Staffordshire Community Energy, Sharenergy, Ethex, Pure Leapfrog, Naturesave Trust.

Summary

In 2013 Southern Staffordshire Community Energy were approached by Cannock Chase District Council with the idea of installing solar PV on the roofs of their housing stock. SSCE did the initial scoping work and planning.  Chase Community Solar, a Community Benefit Society was set up in 2014 to take this project further. Currently the two organisations have the same nine directors all passionate about lessening human impact on the planet and from their work experience, were able to contribute a wide range of skill and expertise to the project.

A pioneer share offer of £35,000 raised the initial capital to get the project off the ground. A share offer over the winter of 2014/2015 brought the amount raised to £750,000. The financial model is based around receiving the Feed in Tariff (FIT).

Installations started on 31 March 2015.

Aims

CCS was set up with the intention to benefit and create value for the community by working with Cannock Chase District Council to help tenants in their housing stock reduce their energy costs.

Challenges

So far, these have included:

  • identifying suitable roofs as they are spread across the district
  • working with grid national operators
  • getting local people to invest
  • knowing how to publicise the share offer
  • time commitment of directors
  • two FIT reductions close to the start of the installation of the panels

Meeting aims/Overcoming challenges

  • A recent share issue has raised £750,000, enough capital to install PV systems on around 250 homes, most of which are bungalows occupied by older people. Link to video.
  • A schedule was set up at the beginning of the project and regular meeting were held to keep elements of the project on track or reschedule if necessary. Sub groups manage sections of work so that full board meetings are not necessary.
  • Electricity generation will be monitored. A small study will examine the impact of the PV on the tenants and look at it as a tool for reducing fuel poverty.
  • The installation work began April 2015 (see photographs of the first two installations).

Results

  • While CCS are not able to demonstrate any savings so far, the tenants will receive free electricity when the PV panels are generating.
  • Interest is paid to investors annually from year 1 to year 20.

Learning Points

Some directors spent many hours working on the different aspects of the project which is probably unsustainable in the longer term. The key is to look for solutions as to how the process could be streamlined in the future.

SWM Comment

We congratulate the directors of CCS for applying the experience gained through their Whittington project using this model so continuing their commitment to creating value for those in the community who are most likely to benefit.

Contact

Kate Sadler or for further details, visit Chase Solar’s website.

First two installations – before
First two installations – after