If you’ve watched the news recently, you could be forgiven for thinking that the end times are upon us. Political turmoil, deep cuts in public spending, inflationary pressures, fuel prices rising, wages stagnating, Brexiters Brexiting…
It’s interesting that in times of doom and gloom, we witness some of the purest forms of ingenuity and creativity.
Communities across the UK are creating co-operative movements for renewable energy. With fuel prices rising and the dangers of global warming threatening the well-being of future generations, these pioneering communities are no longer content to rely on the status quo and are taking affirmative action at a local level. More than 5,000 community groups have instigated their own green energy initiatives in the last five years alone.
Perhaps you feel as though your community stands to benefit from green energy, but have been put off for one reason or another. You might feel as though there are simply too many hurdles to overcome given the current economic climate. While it’s true that policy reforms have had a direct impact on access to government funding, the reality is that groups up and down the country are finding new and innovative ways to finance and manage their community-driven projects.
If you are interested in exploring a community green energy project, below are just a few resources to help you on your way.
The Department of Energy & Climate Change
The DECC has produced a comprehensive guide for community groups interested in setting up energy projects. There is a wide range of advice on practical and financial support, details on shared ownership schemes and suggestions for legal structures for co-operative projects.
PlanLoCaL provides a suite of resources and videos aimed at supporting communities that are planning for low carbon living. While some of the information is a little dated, it provides a useful starting point, with expert guidance, technical information, videos and case studies.
Funding is perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome with any community project. Many grants, loans and subsidies have been scaled down in recent years. The truth is, that the best source of investment in a community project is often the community itself. Pioneering communities are utilising technology to crowdsource the capital needed for their projects. Crowdfunder is a great place to tap into the power of the crowd and begin your fundraising campaign.
If you are looking for a more local approach, many communities sell shares to local homeowners and organisations, allowing them to invest in the project and have a say in the running of the fund. This is a critical component of any community project as it creates a spirit of individual and collective ownership.
The Forum for the Future produced a guide to establishing and running low-carbon community revolving funds. The document provides great advice and showcases many successful community projects across the UK.
Turning words into action
Even with funding secured, there are many other hurdles to overcome. A shifting regulatory environment, finding a site, legislative and regulatory barriers. Fortunately, this is where Powersun comes in. As experts in the field of renewable energy, we can help make your project a reality. From guidance on initial proposals and site acquisition & development, through to system construction, monitoring and maintenance of your green energy system, Powersun can help. Get in touch to find out more about what we can do for your project.