Community solar generates clean energy, recycles money back into communities, improves biodiversity, creates new community amenities and enables local people to take greater control over energy, leading to greater local energy security

A community response to the Climate Emergency

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called the 2021 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a ‘code red for humanity’. The next decade is crucial and a massive increase in renewable energy generation is required to move our society away from reliance on fossil fuels.

The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable:  greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk”.


Clean energy generation

In March 2019 Bath & North East Somerset Council declared a Climate Emergency, with a goal for the area to be carbon neutral by 2030. One of the three action priorities is ‘a rapid and large-scale increase in local renewable energy generation’ with a need for at least 116 football pitches worth of solar panels. To achieve this level of installation community participation and support is vital.

A community owned solar project in your community will generate renewable energy and make a significant contribution to our collective response to the climate crisis.

Community benefit funding

Surplus income from the project is recycled back in the form of grants to support community projects that reduce carbon emissions.  So, one form of decarbonisation pays for another! Community groups can apply for funding for projects such as:

  • Local food and growing
  • Energy efficiency in buildings
  • Re-use and recycling
  • Reducing fuel poverty
  • Sustainable transport
  • Water conservation
  • Energy audits, education and advice

An improvement in biodiversity

The development of a community solar project provides an excellent opportunity to improve conditions for wildlife. We have undertaken ecological surveys and are confident that we can develop the site to deliver up to 53% net gain in biodiversity, meaning an overall increase in natural habitat and ecological features

The creation of new community amenities on the site

We develop our solar sites to bring maximum benefit to the local community, including new amenities (e.g. community orchards). In addition to any amenities that are included in the proposal we are open to the possibility of including others if there is support for them from the local residents and they prove viable.


Energy owned and controlled by local people

BWCE offers a different way of doing business. In addition to building new clean energy projects, we democratise energy and put local people in control.

Local residents can invest to become members, giving them a vote in the organisation, annual interest payments and opportunities for further involvement (e.g. standing for election to the board or helping us develop new projects). Anyone can also sign up as a BWCE supporter to help us raise the profile of what we are trying to achieve together.

Community energy also prevents profits draining out of the area and builds community resilience.

The future – community supply?

We want our community energy projects to supply clean energy direct to local homes and businesses. Technically the electrons meet demand closest to the site but currently, due to UK regulations and high set up costs, community energy enterprises are prevented from becoming suppliers and selling direct to domestic consumers. However, there is pressure on to change the regulations and we are exploring other ways to directly connect local generation to local supply.