Welcome to our Winter Newsletter
In our latest update we cover our grant for small businesses going solar, our ever growing charge point network, a first from our solar education programme, the latest moves in government on supporting community energy, and the continuing instability in the energy market.
Community Solar Accelerator (CSA) Update
24 businesses have already applied for our Community Solar Accelerator grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The first tranche of applications closes on 31/12/21 so please apply soon! You can check if your business can apply for the grant of up to £25k for a solar PV system or solar PV & EV charger, by checking the eligibility criteria here. With things kicking off so well we are happy to introduce our new CSA Account Manager, Svenja Czubayko, who starts with Brighton Energy next week. We also welcome Richard Shires, who is reviewing our arrays output and financial performanceduring a 2-year apprenticeship with BEC sponsored by Octopus Energy.
Expanding EV Charge Point Network
The latest site to join the BEC EV Charge Point Network is Park Gate Residence flats in Hove. The flats already have 100kWp of BEC community owned solar PV BEC community owned solar PV on the roof and now the solar can be used to charge residents’ electric cars – read the latest hove flats blog here. New BEC charge points also went into Amberley Museum and Rathfinney Wine Estate. For the latest electric vehicle news see Electric Brighton’s newsletter here and don’t forget we can offer charge points as part of our Community Solar Accelerator grant package.
Instability in the Energy Market Continues
With Bulb Energy recently going kaput, we had some great feedback on our recent blog on the energy price situation. People pointed out that many of our nuclear stations are offline or operating below capacity (due to cracking in the graphite). Indeed, Dungeness near Rye is being shut down. Others pointed out the energy situation has nothing to do with the real, physical market and in truth, the current fundamentals are not greatly changed. Meanwhile the gas industry continues to gain traction with the nonsensical blue hydrogen “strategy” which – for home heating – means higher emissions and higher gas usage.
Possible Support for Community Energy from BEIS?
Post COP26, some form of community energy support may be under discussion in government. This will only happen if community energy is kept high up the Ministers’ priority lists – so communicating your feelings to your MP would be most useful. You’ll find some great ideas for how you can get involved here.
While you’re at it you might also ask MPs to give their support to the Community Energy Bill. This interesting initiative would force OFGEM to facilitate the buying of electricity that’s produced by community energy. This would update the current daft system where electricity from the other end of the country is priced the same as if it were electricity from the roof next door. Take a look here for more details.
BEC Solar Education Programme
We’re pleased to announce Coldean Primary as the first school in Brighton & Hove to go live on the Energy Sparks energy analysis tool & energy education programme via our BEC Solar Education Programme, whose mission it was to get all of our Solar Schools onto this platform. Earlier in the year our Community Fund manager established a relationship between BHCC and national charity, Energy Sparks, to enable all Brighton & Hove schools to sign up. The five BEC Solar Schools who’ve signed up will also receive a BEC Community Fund grant of £300, so they can allocate staff time and resources to learning how to use this powerful monitoring and teaching tool.
Pupils & Staff Will Benefit From Energy Sparks
Coldean Primary staff & pupils can now learn about their school’s energy usage through live data and discover ways to save the school money on fuel and drive down carbon emissions. In-class activities recorded on the platform generate ‘alerts’ to be acted upon. Four other BEC Solar Schools have enrolled and will have their accounts activated shortly; Carden Primary, Woodingdean Primary, Balfour Infants & Juniors and Hertford Juniors. We’re also thrilled to see other schools, such as Dorothy Stringer, already signing up to benefit from this partnership!
Brighton Energy Social Club!
Thank you for attending our AGM and joining Brighton Energy Cycle Club’s inaugural group ride to Bolney Wine Estate – who host one of our solar arrays and EV chargers – and recently won an award for sustainability. We’ll be holding another group ride in the new year, but this month we’re hosting a BEC Low Carbon Walk & Talk – a social winter walk starting from the Swan Inn in Falmer at 10am on Sat 4th Dec. Join us! Last few places available via Eventbrite here.
In other good news…
You might also be interested to hear Roger Hallam (co-founder of Extinction Rebellion) speak at the Climate Emergency meeting 6pm Thurs 2nd Dec at Phoenix Community Centre, Brighton.
We hope you enjoyed catching up on Brighton Energy’s Winter Solar News, and look forward to getting some fresh air with some of you on our Low Carbon Walk & Talk this Sat 4th Dec!
Thank for your continued support of locally produced and community-owned renewable energy.
If you haven’t already, sign up to our punchy newsletter to hear when we call out for new members to invest in local community solar energy and keep updated on other local renewables.
Season’s Greetings to all our members, partners and supporters across Sussex – keep moving and try not to eat too many mince pies.
Brighton Energy Co-op