Leominster Community Solar Leisure Centre

Project

Leominster Community Solar Leisure Centre

Organisation

Leominster Community Solar

Summary

Leominster Community Solar is an independent solar co-operative; one of the very first solar co-operatives in the UK and the first of four (as of 2015) in Herefordshire. LCS were supported by Sharenergy, a not-for-profit organisation which helps communities find, build and own renewable energy generation throughout the UK.

Leominster Community Solar installed a 49kW solar array on the  Bridge Street Sports Centre in Leominster.

Aims

  • To generate clean, green electricity for local use.
  • Raise sufficient funds through a share offer.

Challenges

  • Identifying a suitable site.
  • The curved roof of the Tennis Hall was an interesting technical challenge.
  • High energy consumption of leisure centre.

Meeting aims/Overcoming challenges

  • £150,725 was raised by 22nd December 2011.
  • Sharenergy approached Halo Leisure, a social enterprise which runs a number of leisure centres on behalf of Councils in order to establish whether solar panels could be installed and shares sold as part of a community solar scheme.
  • Bridge Street Sports Centre site in Leominster was chosen as the most suitable and a feasibility study was carried out.
  • The tennis hall was selected as the location for the solar array to be installed.
  • The panels on the curved roof are connected in horizontal strings so the inverters can be set to maximise output for the panels at each angle.
  • The electricity consumption of the sports centre outstrips what the panels will be able to produce, meaning that virtually all of the solar electricity generated will be used on site.
  • The 49kW solar array was installed in November 2011 and has been generating clean, green electricity for the centre since October 2012.

Results

  • The electricity is supplied at reduced cost to the Leisure Centre, itself run by a social enterprise.
  • It has outperformed predictions and the members have voted to put some of the income to a community fund, some of which has already been used to support new projects, including Leominster Sunrise.
  • As of 27/01/2015:
    • 104 tonnes of CO2 has been avoided.
    • 148,995.09kWh of electricity has been generated.
    • 94 members of the co-operative are benefiting from the investment.

Learning Points

The share offer was oversubscribed by over 40% providing a great opportunity to ask for suggestions for the next project in Hereford.

SWM Comment

SWM congratulate the efforts of Leominster Community Solar through their partnership with other organisations in order to secure the scheme.

Contact

Jon Halle or for further details, visit ShareEnergy’s website.