The UK’s first urban community-owned solar energy project in Brixton, Lambeth, has scooped an award in the Sustainable Housing Finance category, which celebrates projects that are at the vanguard of housing sustainability best practice.
Brixton Energy Solar 1 is co-produced by Lambeth Council and Repowering South London with support from local residents. Funding for the project was raised through a share offer that attracted investors from the local community and throughout the UK. The solar panels are situated on the roofs of a building on the Loughborough Estate in Brixton. The panels started generating electricity in March 2012 and since then have exceeded the annual generation target by 28%, despite one of the wettest summers on record.
Co-founder and project manager of Brixton Energy, Agamemnon Otero, said: “Brixton Solar Energy 1 proves that it really is possible for clean energy to make financial sense. Helping the environment by producing clean energy doesn’t have to be costly and winning this award underscores the viability of the project’s business model, which brings investors a return of 3% p/a.”
Jess McCabe, editor of Sustainable Housing, said: “Our annual awards recognise the best of the best. Repowering South London’s Brixton Energy Solar 1 project beat off stiff competition from more than 120 entrants from all around the UK to take the 2012 Sustainable Housing Finance Award.”
Cllr Lib Peck, Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing and Regeneration on Lambeth Council said: “This award is a fantastic endorsement for all that Brixton Energy has achieved so far. It brings huge benefits for the community, including the establishment of a Community Energy Efficiency Fund that will support energy efficiency improvements in the local area, such as draught proofing and insulation.
This is only the beginning of the story as Lambeth Council is committed to supporting Repowering South London in the co-production of further renewable energy co-operatives on buildings and housing stock in Lambeth to increase energy security for residents. Indeed, following the success of Brixton Solar Energy 1, Brixton Energy’s second solar project, Brixton Energy Solar 2, has launched its share offer to secure funds for a further set of panels to be cited on a second building on the Loughborough Estate.
Otero said: “I hope all those who invested in the Brixton Energy Solar 1 feel proud to be a part of such an innovative, award winning project that is bringing solar power to the people. We hope other community groups across the UK will be inspired to take action. We want to make Brixton Energy a shining example of inner-city community resilience for the next 20 years.”
Notes to Editors
- 1. About Repowering South London
Repowering South London is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in facilitating the co-production of community-owned renewable energy projects. Repowering South London’s values are aligned with those of the Transition Town movement – a community group with a practical approach to preparing for a low-carbon future. Repowering South London aims to:
- • Generate de-centralised renewable / low carbon, energy resilience in South London
- • Provide opportunities for local and responsible financial community investment
- • Create financial revenue funds to service social aims of locally led co-operatives.
- • Educate residents about energy efficiency
- • Tackle fuel poverty and
- • Provide training and employment for local people
• Promote local leadership through community ownership and empowerment
Repowering South London promotes and facilitates the wide-scale development and local ownership of renewable energy projects across South London by providing the essential technical, financial, legal and administrative expertise.
Repowering South London has co-produced Brixton Energy Solar 1 and Solar 2 with local residents and Lambeth Council.
Community-owned energy is a way for inner city estates to make the first steps towards reducing dependence on oil, protecting against rising fuel costs and instigating energy efficient behaviours.
- 2. About Brixton Energy Co-operatives
Brixton Energy Solar 1 and Solar 2 are co-operatives registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act. The Co-operatives are jointly owned and operated by local Brixton residents to support the generation of solar power in Brixton and provide practical solutions to a low-carbon future. Most investors are Lambeth and/or Brixton residents, with additional investors throughout London and beyond.
- 3. About the Brixton Energy Solar 2 share offer
- • Each share in Brixton Energy Solar 2 has a nominal value of £1. The minimum shareholding that you can apply for under this share offer is £250.
- • Investors will receive interest payments, estimated at 3% average annual rate of return.
- • The investment is eligible for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), which provides up to 50% tax relief and will equate to a 6% effective return on investment.
- • The 45kWp system will be capable of generating an estimated 33,000kWh leading to carbon savings of 17,000Kg per annum.
- • For the first time in the UK, Brixton Energy Co-op members will be able to invest if they wish using the local Brixton Pound currency, and also receive their annual share payment in Brixton Pounds.
- 4. About Co-operatives
Co-operatives are not-for-profit structures, which abide by the core co-operative principles (for example they are one member, one vote democracies). Technically they are Co-operative Societies (previously known as Industrial and Provident Societies).
Agamemnon Otero, Project Manager
AgamemnonOtero@BrixtonEnergy.co.uk / 07960829826
Brixton Energy: https://brixtonenergy.co.uk
Repowering South London: https://RepoweringSouthLondon.co.uk