The summer is officially here! 3 days of consistent sunshine confirms it!
On the hottest day of the year so far the Brixton Energy interns were up on the roof of Elmore House looking at the 37kWp system in action.
Eric Schloss, the intern co-ordinator, talked the interns through solar feasibility and how this feeds into the financial model. Having spoken about crowd funding and community share offers the week before the interns understood the need to make sure the co-operative shareholders are repaid by the income from energy generation, sale and export. This is the heart of how community energy operates!
Although the landscape has shifted massively by the Feed-In-Tariff changes in recent years there is a common understanding that in order to continue installing community owned renewable energy systems in urban areas, onsite usage needs to be maximised. Hence, schools and other public sector buildings are becoming more viable. In this vein of thinking we are in talks with Loughborough Primary School next door, visible from the roof of Elmore House.
The community energy game is changing and so it was great that on this sunny Thursday afternoon the Brixton Energy interns got to see a piece of history on their own doorsteps.
Back in March Brixton Energy hosted students from the forward thinking Brockwood School in Hampshire at Elmore House, the first community energy project on social housing in London.
Across 2 days 60 students were shown first-hand what community energy means, getting onto the roofs to see the panels and having one of the best views of the London cityscape.
The students were given the environmental awareness quiz to gauge their nous for all things eco, shown how a solar power works and how to wire up a solar panel to power lights and fans.
We look forward to hosting more school visits in the future to spread a message of community empowerment and optimism.
Did you take the Environmental Awareness quiz? Here are the answers – tell us how you did!
On Saturday 6th May the Brixton Energy interns lined up at the Remakery on Lilford Road to solder, heat and glue their way to producing three 18V solar panels.
Tunes were played whilst the panels took form and 4 hours later we were able to start charging batteries.
The panels will be donated to the Remakery where they will form a phone charging station for visitors and spread the word about what the Brixton Energy interns are doing!
This Wednesday the Brixton Energy Interns met up for an energy consultation session with Brixton Energy veteran Martin Abraham from Green Skills Partnership Education and Training. The focus was on fuel poverty, how to calculate energy use and manage energy bills.
At the start of the session, to get into the saving state of mind, the interns took an Environmental Awareness Quiz to see what they knew about saving energy and how recycling can protect the environment. You can take the quiz below and see how you score, it’s not as easy as you think!
On Monday April 3rd, 12 UCL masters students squeezed into the cozy top room of Brixton Impact Hub. It was a warm spring evening, and the international group buzzed with friendly chatter. The students were there to learn all about their upcoming role in the Brixton Energy project; namely, door-knocking to carry out surveys of the residents at Elmore House in Loughborough Estate.
These comprehensive surveys were created to figure out how best individual residents can lower their electricity consumption and bills. These surveys and the corresponding energy advice will all be provided free of charge, and will hopefully help local people save money on their electricity and gas bills. This is a key part of the community outreach aspect of the Brixton energy project, and will be a great way to re-engage with residents who were part of Brixton Energy 1 – the first solar rooftop installation successfully carried out by Repowering London.
This particular open meeting at Brixton Impact hub was led by Repowering London’s own Felix Wight and Afsheen Rashid, and was also attended by the projects director, Andre. The UCL volunteers present asked lots of questions about the survey, the purpose of collecting results, and the project in general. They themselves are preparing for their own research trip abroad, and will be getting great experience from being a part of the Brixton Energy project. We look forward to our next meeting with them when we can practice role-playing the survey, and get ready for the real thing – which is to come in a couple of weeks time.
Brixton Energy open meetings happen every two weeks as part of the Impact Hub Open Projects night at Pop Brixton. They are open to all, and we’d love to see you there!
Since our most recent completed projects – Brixton Energy Solar 1, Solar 2 and Solar 3 – we’ve focused our attention more inward, strengthening the existing energy co-operatives that we established. Now, with these successful projects under our belt, we are excited to explore new opportunities to develop community energy in Brixton.
Our partner, Repowering London, has been awarded a grant of £125,000 from community business fund ‘Power to Change’, which will support the expansion of community energy in Brixton. Working with Repowering we aim to create social and environmental benefits, as well as an additional source of revenue for the community.
We have identified at least eight future project sites, with a total solar energy generating – capacity of 465kWp, saving roughly 170 tonnes of emitted CO2.
But, apart from solar PV, we are also keen to explore other technologies, such as battery storage, LED street lighting, supply of locally generated electricity, combined heat and power, and anaerobic digestion (AD).
To kick-off, we held an open meeting on Monday 3rd October, 2016, at the Impact Hub in Brixton. Fourteen people attended – from engineers, artists, students, volunteers – eager to learn how they could get involved, and excited to explore these options. Anaerobic digestion (AD) technology was most popular, and we were curious to see how we might work to collect food waste around Brixton Market, and convert it into valuable biogas to generate heat and electricity and fertilizer to be reused by homes and businesses in the local area.
The next event will be on Monday 17th October, where we will discuss the potential for AD technology in Brixton in more detail.
Do come along – all input is welcomed! Help us to develop our future community energy projects in Brixton!
For more information please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.