Southern Staffordshire Community Energy

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Project

Southern Staffordshire Community Energy

Organisation

Southern Staffordshire Community Energy

Summary

SSCE has a Board of 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.

In Spring 2011 SSCE had the idea to help local community organisations to use renewable energy to lower the carbon emissions. Enthusiastic volunteers from two neighbouring low carbon community groups formed a Society for the Benefit of the Community with the aim of reducing carbon emissions locally.

The financial model was based around receiving the Feed in Tariff (FIT).

Aims

The intention was to raise funds through shares for renewable energy projects to benefit and create value for the community.

Challenges

As the project was partially motivated by the opportunity of Feed in Tariff (FIT), a big difficulty was a sudden FIT reduction in late 2011 which meant only an installation half the size of the one planned was able to be completed.

Time pressures for the PV installers meant mistakes were made with one of the installations thus generating less electricity in the first year than anticipated. Only when the problem was identified, was it rectified.

Those involved were unsure of some of the legal and tax work that needed to be carried out and had to call on the knowledge of similar groups.

Meeting aims/Overcoming challenges

  • In December 2011, two community-owned solar PV systems were installed in Whittington, at the Whittington Village Hall and St Giles Hospice following a share issue raising £54,000.
  • At St Giles Hospital 16.4 kW solar panels were installed on its roof.
  • At Whittington Village Hall 7.1 kW solar panels were installed.
  • Together, the two installations were estimated to save around 12.5 tonnes of carbon per year.

Results

  • Share offer that was promoted locally raised £54,000.
  • The table below illustrates that the panels have thus far exceeded predictions:

SSCE Whittington Energy Savings

The village hall and the hospice are supplied with free electricity.

  • Interest is paid to investors annually from year 2 to year 25.
  • Other energy saving projects that benefit the community have been delivered with Lichfield District Council and Marches Energy Agency. Winner of Birmingham Energy Savers Best Community Energy Project 2013.
  • Using the surplus generated from this project, a community fund has enabled further carbon saving projects to be undertaken – five community buildings in Lichfield obtained energy audits in 2014.

Learning Points

SSCE found that the model worked well and that it was really useful to share resources with similar groups nationally. The success has given them confidence to promote this way of working to others and to be involved in similar projects.

SWM Comment

SWM commends SSCE for its commitment to creating value for the community through the installation of solar PV systems throughout the community.

Contact

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

St Giles Hospice
Whittington Village Hall