Thanks to our Solar Roof Spotters we have had over 100 enquiries to Community Solar 2020 and we are currently discussing a number of viable projects with local businesses and educational establishments. If all the potential sites reach completion we would see a boost in BWCE solar generating capacity of up to 2MW from roofs with a further 1.25MW from ground mounted arrays. This could generate enough electricity to match the annual demand from another 1,000 homes, a substantial addition to our existing capacity of 12.35MW. Though no doubt some roofs will fall by the wayside as we do further development work, hopefully they will be replaced by others.
We are still open to new suggestions so if you have contact with interested site owners please ask them to check out our FAQs and complete our Expression of Interest form. We are testing virtual site surveys so we can still make progress during the shutdown.
Also, if you want to help us fund the new community solar projects by investing in BWCE (over £420,000 raised so far) please go to our Invest page.
We want to hear from people who are planning to install (or have already installed) heat pumps and/or electrical vehicle charging points and who might want to be part of this ground-breaking project.For more details check out our Flex Community webpage and Register your interest in Flex Community
80% of the population support onshore wind so why are there so few wind turbines in Bath & North East Somerset?
Why don’t more houses have solar panels?
How can we make planning policy more supportive of renewable energy?
With these questions in mind it is good to see that B&NES Council are aiming to update their Local Plan and associated planning policies, to bring them in line with their Climate Emergency declaration. A consultation on the proposals is currently open until 1st June and we urge all BWCE supporters to respond to support policies more in favour of renewable energy. For more details check out our short briefing on the consultation.
Due to the current COVID-19 health emergency BWCE, in common with most organisations, is changing the way it operates. All staff members are restricted to working from home and we are moving work online where we possibly can. For example, we will be testing how we can run future public meetings as online webinars. Clearly, we will be constrained in what we can do in certain areas and there will be impacts, but we are carrying out a full review of all potential risks and how to mitigate these going forward. We are confident we will be able to manage any impact, but we will of course let you know how these plans develop.
If you or anyone you know requires support or can offer it to others during the current crisis Bath Cooperative Alliance have a COVID-19 Community Support page which lists a number of local initiatives. We wish you well and hope that you stay safe and find a positive way to deal with the restrictions we now all face.
The BWCE Community fund is looking for three new Trustees, including a Treasurer. The fund, which is a separate charity, is seeking applicants over 16 from all sections of the community for these voluntary positions. This will involve attending 4-5 daytime meetings a year (subject to the current restrictions), contributing to grant making decisions and helping the charity to make positive contributions to the local community.Deadline for applications is Thursday 30th April.
On 12th March 2020 the BWCE Supporters Network ran an event at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution to explore the challenge of balancing energy demand with increasing levels of intermittent renewable energy. The event presented the challenge and potential solutions, and enabled participants to start exploring what we can do to make sure it’s not left to the large energy companies to control and benefit from the low carbon energy transition. It was great to see so many people involved and to be a part of a positive and thought provoking evening. We are looking forward to continuing the discussion through online webinars, if not face to face in the short term.
An eco-therapy allotment, an edible food forest, a nappy library, energy ambassadors in schools, energy advice events, thermal home surveys, a solar powered village hall, family climate action and a song about climate change solutions. All these will benefit from the latest round of the BWCE Community Fund. £28,370 has been awarded to nine organisations to help them reduce carbon emissions and address fuel poverty through awareness raising, practical action and behaviour change. Find out about the successful projects at the 2020 allocations page
Pictured are successful community fund applicants Family Action on Climate Emergency (FACE) and Keynsham Community Energy.
The Community Fund is funded from surplus income from BWCE and donations from BWCE members. Further information on the Community Fund can be found here and if you want to make a donation to the fund the details are here.
We are very grateful to the family of former BWCE member Kate Hall for their legacy donation of £1,000, which is funding the Alice Park Community Garden Edible Food Forest. Community Gardener Carole Stone said: “We were particularly touched to learn that our grant was made possible thanks to the generosity of the family of a BWCE member, who made the donation in memory of their loved one.”
Applications have closed for our Flex Community pilot project on hot water heating and we are currently installing the Stemy Energy controller and app in a number of households. Over the next few months the project will be widening its scope to integrate solar pv and manage electricity demand from space heating (heat pumps) and electric vehicle charging. For more information check out the Flex Community project webpage and email [email protected] if you want to receive notifications for the next stage of the project.
There are lots of opportunities to engage in local democracy in your area to support community energy and climate emergency initiatives. However, information on how you can get involved in local democracy can be hard to find. To help you we have created a new Influencing Local Decision Making section of the website. There are suggestions for how you make your voice heard plus links through to specific pages for residents of B&NES and Wiltshire.
Our Roof Spotters Guide with all the information to enable you to spot a viable roof for our Community Solar 2020 project is now available to download as a PDF from our website. If anyone has a roof they think might fit the bill please complete an expression of interest form.