Welcome to our positive Solar News

Our latest blog covers the fantastic generation at our sites now the sun’s finally here, our exciting Opportunities for Solar Installers, our latest ‘Walky Talky’ social event, the conclusion of our EV Charger Network project and a round-up of the help BEC Members have given their local community.

blue sky solar panels

We’re Celebrating the Sun!

As the sun shines longer the smiles brighten in the BEC office.  Our sites are beginning to pump up the volume of power delivered and savings in CO2. On one day last week we generated 10MWh of energy from just 36 of our 62 solar installations – that’s 2 tonnes of CO2 saved – the best day of the year so far!

Sunny days produce a sense of satisfaction in us.  Knowing that we’re helping local schools, colleges, universities and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills makes us feel good.  Especially when we’re all experiencing unprecedented energy cost rises.  So, to brighten the smiles of our BEC Members, we’ve written a little blog on the benefits BEC Members bring to their local and wider community.  You all deserve to give yourselves a pat on the back!

How Does BEC Benefit the Local & Wider Community?

People often ask Brighton Energy how many people benefit directly from our projects each year. There are a few ways of looking at this, but if we take 2020 as an example –

BEC’s 40 Partners with their 60+ Solar Installations saved £110,000 on their electricity bills and generated 3325 MWh of clean electricity.

BEC’s 600 Members received a total of £72,000 in interest payments.

BEC saved 3262 tonnes of CO2 from entering our atmosphere, equivalent to planting 34,670 trees!

BEC’s Community Fund also benefited our 13 Solar Schools.

Green Energy Awards banner

BEC Shorlisted for Regen Green Energy Awards 2022

BEC were shortlisted for the Regen Green Energy Awards 2022 in the ‘Community Energy Initiative’ category sponsored by Western Power Distribution. It’s really pleasing to have got this far, as there was some stiff competition in this section from; Bath & West Community Energy, Exeter Community Energy, Harbury Energy Initiative and South Denbigshire Community Partnership.  The award ceremony was held in Bath last night with Exeter Community Energy deservedly taking the prize.  We send them our whole-hearted congratulations and of course hope we’ll win next year!  Read all about the annual Regen Green Energy Awards here

brighton energy cycle club

CSA Grant for Small & Medium Sized Businesses 

Spring is here, sunshine is here, and we have funds for Solar PV and EV Charging Points to give away to businesses – so hurry!

Our new funding round has just started and we are looking for businesses with big roofs in the Coast to Capital area to make use of our Community Solar Accelerator Grant (CSA) while it lasts.  We just approved the first round of grants with solar arrays being installed as we speak, and WE WANT MORE!  Get in touch today as there is only a limited amount of funding available! Email our CSA Account Manager, Svenja Czubayko, at csagrant@brightonenergy.org.uk or find out more about the grant process here. 

Calling all Solar Installers! 

We’ve created a fabulous new page on our website that lists all our LIVE Opportunities for Solar Installers. On this page, we publish the tender calls from businesses looking to have 30kW+ Solar PV installed in the coming few months.  This page will be updated regularly so check it out here.

free solar for schools brighton

BEC’s Electric Charger Network Project Concludes

The final EV Charge Points from our Power to Change funded Next Generation project have been installed at Rathfinny Wine Estate, Amberly Museum and Beechwood Hall & Rural Venue in Cooksbridge near Lewes. Read the blogs for each of these projects here.  Brighton Energy’s EV Charger Network is innovative in the South region, as all but one of our PodPoint chargers are connected to our solar PV, so you can top up using the power of the sun! 

BEC has two unused PodPoint charge points for sale, if you are interested in buying a 7kw twin or 22kw twin at 2020 prices (£1650 + VAT each) then please get in touch with damian@brightonenergy.org.uk.

For all things “Hug the Plug” see Electric Brighton’s groovy campaign to get folks to switch to electric cars here, as well as all the usual charge point map and EV focused info.  Don’t forget we can offer charge points as part of our Community Solar Accelerator grant package too! 

Brighton Energy’s EV Charger Network also includes; Bolney Wine Estate, Park Gate Residence, Shoreham Port, Carden Nursery & Primary School and University of Brighton.  All our solar-connected EV Chargers are listed on Zap Map, Plug Share and regional maps such as Electric Brighton and Pod Point’s own map.  

lady bee solar shoreham port
free solar for schools brighton

BEC Solar Education Programme

Five of BEC’s thirteen Solar Schools are now live on the Energy Sparks energy analysis tool & energy education programme thanks to BEC’s Solar Education Programme. In addition, a further three Brighton & Hove schools, who loved the sound of Energy Sparks, have decided to sign themselves up now that the opportunity has become available to them.  We must thank Brighton & Hove City Council’s Energy Team and Brighton & Hove Environmental Education for helping us promote Energy Sparks to head teachers city wide.

BEC’ Solar Schools who signed up; Balfour, Carden, Coldean, Hertford Juniors and Woodingdean, will each receive a BEC Community Fund grant of £300, enabling teaching and business management staff to allocate time to learn how to use this powerful monitoring and teaching tool. By making the most of the tool’s educational ‘Activities’ and energy use ‘Alerts’ these five schools now have the potential to save up to £18,900 on their energy bills!

Getting all our Solar Schools onto this platform was the objective of the BEC Solar Education Programme, established last year.  We hope all Brighton & Hove schools will eventually benefit from the free Energy Sparks service.  Please help us do this by sharing the infographic below with any school Governors or staff you know. 

free solar for schools brighton
Brighton energy co-op webinar

Brighton Energy Socials

Due to the success of our first BEC Low Carbon Walk & Talk around Stanmer Park back in December, we decided to organise another.   This time we hope to be soaking up the sun on a seaside circular networking walk. Starting from Roedean Cafe we’ll head along the stunning Undercliff Path to Rottingdean – taking every opportunity to take in the view and discuss low carbon issues and innovative solutions.  Join us on Sat 16th April at 10am by reserving your free place via the Eventbrite link here and help us spread the word!

In addition to the Low Carbon Walk & Talk, BEC Director Damian Tow is running a weekend ‘In Through The Outdoors a Sumer Journey’ retreat in early July.  This provides an opportunity to re-connect & be re-energised in the beautiful Welsh mountains. If you would like to find out more please have a look at this link.  

In other news… 

Zero4Zero Campaign 

Ecotricity launched their ‘Zero4Zero’ campaign with the Daily Express just over a year ago to get the UK government to remove VAT from products – like solar panels, heat pumps and insulation – that help the UK move towards Net Zero. On 23rd March it was music to many people’s ears to hear Chancellor Sunak do just that, and even emphasise the word zero.

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today during the Spring Statement 2022, they’re cutting VAT on installing energy-saving materials in residential properties from 5% to 0% from 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2027 – a call Solar Energy UK has been making for years.

Why are green energy bills affected by the energy crisis?

We’re sure you’ve all been asking yourselves this, as you’ll more than likely have a green energy supplier.  You may be confused as to why your clean green energy bills are going up due to polluting dirty energy prices going up, so we thought you’d be interested in this Ecotricity blog on the subject.

A reminder of the importance of solar within sustainable development and climate change mitigation efforts

The first detailed global assessment of the electricity generation potential of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) technology was conducted by researchers at MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine in University College Cork (UCC), in collaboration with international research partners. The findings were published in Nature Communications


We hope you enjoyed Brighton Energy’s Spring Solar News and look forward to a seaside ‘Walky Talky’ with you. If you can’t wait that long to find out more about our projects check out this simple ‘How does BEC work’ page here. Thank you for continuing to support community-owned energy in whatever way you can.

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.

Warmest regards,

Brighton Energy Co-op

Share This