Repowering and Brixton energy continue to receive recognition

Repowering’s work with local London communities continues to receive recognition from far afield.

The current affairs programme, PM, on BBC Radio 4 recently aired a segment on community renewable energy. Follow the link or click below to listen to an excerpt featuring Repowering:

Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, praised the Brixton Energy co-ops in her speech at St Paul’s Cathedral on May 17th. Follow the link or click below to see a snippet:

BES1 energy generation vs projection for 2013

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In 2013, Brixton Energy Solar 1 was projected to generate a total of 26,913kWh. In total it generated 32,586kWh (enough to power 10 average UK homes) which represents a yield (system efficiency) of 875kWh/kWp maintaining the same performance as its 1st year of operation. Our original solar generation model which was taken from PVGIS and underestimates the warmer months and overestimates the colder months. This learning will be used to project solar generation in future Brixton Energy and Repowering projects and feedback has also been given to the PVGIS community to improve their modelling tool. 

The export meter was installed in August 2013 and by the end of 2013, 7100kWh were exported to the grid, bringing additional £322 income. The export income estimated for 2014 is £1450 which will be a significant boost to BES1 income streams.

Brixton Energy Solar 2 Annual General Meeting

Last Monday the first Annual General Meeting of Brixton Energy Solar 2 took place at the Loughborough Centre, Brixton. Thanks to everybody who attended. For those of you who couldn’t make it we recorded Agamemnon Otero giving the director’s report.

We have also made the minutes available online and the accounts available online for anyone who is interested.

It has been a big year for Brixton Energy and we want to thank all of our investors for being part of this groundbreaking project. We look forward to building on the success of Brixton Energy Solar 2 in the next year through the social returns provided via the Community Energy Efficiency Fund and through new projects such as Brixton Energy Solar 3 which is open for investment.

Videos from the Brixton Energy 3 Launch Party

Last Tuesday we had a party to celebrate the launch of Brixton Energy Solar 3.

Afsheen Rashid, Community Energy Project Officer, Lambeth Council welcome the enthusiastic crowd and Agamemnon Otero, Co-founder & Director of Repowering talked about Repowering’s vision and future plans.

Brigid Clarke, Jason Neylon, Andre Pinho, the Directors of Brixton Energy Solar 3, shared their experience of becoming Directors, talk about resident engagement, better financial investment and the special share offer for residents.

Mary Simpson, Chair of Roupell Park Resident Management Committee spoked on behalf of the residents. The highlight of the night was listening to the experiences of the young people of Roupell Park Estate – Isha, Kamel and Nadeane who have been interns on the project.

Best of all Nadeane and Isha made a delicious solar panel cake especially for the night!

Isha & Nadeane with their solar panel cake

There are still shares available if you wish to invest in the project.

Brixton Energy Solar 3 Launch Party

We are celebrating the future of community owned renewable energy in Brixton!

  • Enjoy locally sourced food & refreshments
  • Hear from young interns helping with the installation
  • Learn how to make a solar panel
  • Eco-games


View Larger Map

Brixton Energy Solar 3 is a Co-operative set up to invest in renewable energy generation in Brixton, raise money to tackle fuel poverty, and help create training and work experience opportunities for young people on the Roupell Park Estate. The event will take place at the Electric Social, 40 Acre Lane, London, Brixton SW2 5SP on Tuesday 9th July 7pm – 10pm.

 
Shares are still open and if you are interested in investing in this exciting project you can find out more here.

 

Brixton Energy Solar 1 Annual General Meeting

Last Saturday the first Annual General Meeting of Brixton Energy Solar 1 took place at the Loughborough Centre, Brixton. Thanks to everybody who attended. For those of you who couldn’t make it we recorded Will Anderson giving the director’s report.

We have also made the minutes available online and the accounts available online for anyone who is interested.

It has been a big year for Brixton Energy and we want to thank all of our investors for being part of this groundbreaking project:

We look forward to building on the success of Brixton Energy Solar 1 in the next year through the social returns provided via the Community Energy Efficiency Fund and through new projects such as Brixton Energy Solar 3 which is now open for investment.

Electricity generation tweets from Brixton Energy Solar 1

If you’re a Twitter user you can now keep tabs on how much electricity our first project Brixton Energy Solar 1 (on Elmore House in Loughborough Junction) is generating. We have setup a new automated twitter account @BES_Generation that tweets when electricity generation for the day exceeds 20, 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250kWh.

In winter you should get one or two tweets a day, increasing to up to four or five tweets as the sun comes out. Last year we had one day where generation exceed to 250kWh and hopefully we will have more similar days this year.

 

If you want more information you can also go to our solar log monitoring page which has detailed statistics for the last year.

Solar log montoring software

Solar log monitoring software

We hope to roll out similar services for our future projects so that investors and other interested parties can see how well solar power is working in Brixton. For regular news and updates you can follow our main Twitter account @brixtonenergy

Luciana Berger Shadow Climate Change MP visits Brixton Energy

Fay Gordon, Cllr Imogen Walker, Cllr Lib Peck, Agamemnon Otero & Luciana Berger MP

Making our way through the light snow, a voice commented, “Will those solar panels actually work in this weather?” Climbing the stairs to the roof, the hum of the inverters assured us that, yes, come rain or shine, our solar panels continue to pump crystal clean renewable energy into the Loughborough Estate, generating money for the estate residents and cooperative investors.

Looking out over hundreds of solar panels on the roof of the building, Luciana Berger, Shadow climate change MP, remarked,

“It’s very interesting to see an innovative cooperative like Repowering South London delivering real change to communities.”

Inca Williams who enrolled in Repowering South London’s work experience programme spoke to Luciana – “Having completed the work experience, I now really want to tell others about the benefits of solar energy, and how and why harnessing natural energy sources such as sunlight to generate electricity is such a great way of reducing our carbon emissions and living more sustainably.”

Inca Williams paid work experience graduate on Brixton Energy Solar 2

Fay Gordon, Loughborough Estate resident and investor added, “This just makes sense. I learned about solar panels and wind turbines twenty years ago so I’ve always had an awareness for clean energy and the benefits it can bring. So it’s fantastic to see it happening on my doorstep, and to be able to be a part of it.”

In the biting cold, fuel poverty initiatives within the Community Energy Efficiency Fund are enabling residents to live more comfortably in warmer homes, save money and improve their wellbeing. This has impressed long time supporters Council Leader Lib Peck and Imogen Walker Lambeth, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability. With their continued belief in RSL, together with active volunteers and interested local community members, RSL hopes to establish more clean energy projects.

So stay tuned for news about our next solar energy project, work experience opportunities, and solar panel making workshops. They’re open to all.

Brixton Energy mentioned in Parliament

We were very happy to see Steve Reed (former leader of Lambeth council and newly elected MP for Croydon North) mentioning Brixton Energy in the House of Commons this week during the debate on the energy bill.


Skip ahead to 18:24 to watch Steve’s speech

Here is the full text of Steve’s speech:

This Bill misses an opportunity to support community energy cooperatives, and worse contains measures that will make them harder to establish.

Brixton Solar Energy 1 was the country’s first urban energy generation cooperative. It was set up by the community in Brixton working in cooperation with Lambeth Council – which I was leading until earlier this month.

Solar power generation is not feasible on the majority of houses because they face the wrong way, suffer from shading from chimneys or other structures, or are too small. Collective schemes like Brixton Solar Energy are far better. To work, they require partnership working. Solar panels are more likely to be financially viable when they are built on social housing blocks, schools or other public buildings, churches or businesses which have larger roof space facing the sun.

Brixton Solar 1 was built on the roof of a social housing block on the Loughborough Park Estate in Brixton. Brixton Solar 2 is being built now on another part of the same housing estate. A third scheme is planned for another estate in the area. The schemes are funded by community subscription and offer a 3% return to investors, most of whom are local. They are also part-resourced by the local authority which makes the buildings available.

These projects tackle fuel poverty by offering lower energy prices to residents who benefit from the feed-in tariff. They reduce carbon emissions by generating energy sustainably, and some of the profits generated are invested in schemes like draught busting, retrofitting buildings, home energy audits and training on energy efficiency. In addition, they build social capital, bring communities together, and keep profits circulating in the local community in a way that does not happen with the big energy companies.

Instead of supporting schemes like this, the Bill offers smaller community generators lower market prices for their power, making them less financially viable and failing to recognise the administration costs needed to run them. It also ends the Renewables Obligation meaning that suppliers have no incentive to purchase from independent generators like Brixton Solar Energy.

The Bill should be amended to increase the fixed feed-in tariff threshold for community projects; guarantee a market for community energy schemes; and set a minimum annual target for new generation capacity from community schemes. I’d also like to see local authorities incentivised to lower overall household carbon emissions in their area which they could do, in part, by supporting projects like Brixton Solar Energy.

The Government should recognise the benefits of cooperative energy generation projects in tackling fuel poverty and promoting sustainability, but instead of acting to help them this Bill will help kill them off.

Fundraising for the second community solar energy project in Brixton

On Tuesday night, we held a fundraising event to raise awareness for Brixton’s second innovative urban community-owned solar energy project, Brixton Solar Energy 2. The event brought together local people, Councillors, investors and installers, all united by a shared belief in the need for community-owned clean energy generation.

The UK’s first inner city community-owned solar energy project on social housing, Brixton Energy Solar 1, has exceeded predicted energy generation by over a quarter. Speaking at the event, Afsheen Kabir Rashid, Lambeth Community Energy Officer, discussed the success of Brixton’s first solar project, and encouraged investors to become a part of Brixton Solar Energy 2, which has already attracted over £32,000 and is looking to raise a further £29,000 by October 23rd.

Other speakers gave some of their time to explain why they’re supporting Brixton Energy – Lib Peck, Lambeth Councillor for Regeneration and Strategic Housing, highlighted how recent hikes in fuel prices and impending changes to welfare reforms could push even more local people into fuel poverty. “This underscores the need for local clean energy production and investment in ground-breaking projects like Brixton Energy Solar 2 that can lead to job creation and a more resilient local community,” she said.

Matt Man from Southern Solar commented, “I can’t actually believe we’re installing the second project already, but we are!” He highlighted the need for more people to have a better awareness of the resources they use in their daily lives and to adopt more energy efficient behaviour.

The visionary co-founder and project manager of Brixton Energy, Agamemnon Otero, told the audience how one local 17 year old student put her electrical engineering skills to the test by helping with the installation of Brixton Energy Solar 2’s solar panels this week on Styles Gardens’ roof, Loughborough Estate. Involving local residents wherever possible is an important goal for the project and it is hoped that more local people will get involved. Certainly, as word spreads about the success of the first solar project, he’s noticed more people asking questions about how they can get involved in the second project, and seeking information on clean energy and how it could benefit them.

Agamemnon Otero & Fay Gordon

Loughborough Estate resident and investor Mrs Fay Gordon highlighted the need for apprenticeships to help address unemployment among young local residents. She believes in the importance of “never giving up – and trying something new” and sees this sense of hope and entrepreneurialism reflected in the Brixton Energy solar projects. With friends suffering from health issues caused by air pollution from living near busy roads, she also appreciates the need for emission free energy generation.

The Brixton Energy team

Tuesday night’s event was a celebration of Brixton Energy, a Repowering South London project, and its successes to date. It was also an opportunity to reiterate that this community project is proving a success thanks to the time and dedication of a handful of local people. As the event demonstrated, that handful has grown to a roomful, and now with momentum building following the success of the first solar project, there’s never been a better time to invest in a project that gives you a guaranteed rate of return over the next twenty years, and brings tangible benefits to the local community.

If you are interested in investing you can apply for shares now using our online form.

(Thanks to Tim Mitchell for the great photos).