Warm Your Cockles With Our Solar News

In this issue…

Over 120 people have invested in BEC’s latest share offer – our biggest solar project yet.  We gave 8 EU-funded solar grants to local businesses, worth a total of £165,000.  BEC won an exciting new consultancy role with a local business park.  We completed our yearly programme of maintenance checks, launched our Winter Woodland Walk & Talk and celebrated our 12th birthday!


hit the target

Help Us Smash Our Target!

We’re aiming for the end of December to hit our community fund-raising target of £450k for new solar at Rathfinny Wine Estate. The PV will save a whopping 400 tons of CO2 emissions each year to help tackle climate change.  

Over 120 people have already invested (raising over £330k) – many thanks to all of you. If you’re interested in joining them you can do that here. We project 5% interest on shares in the first 2 years, 3.5% thereafter, and 2% of the revenue that we generate goes to our community fund supporting energy education in local schools.

small business grants

Community Solar Accelerator Update

As part of our EU-funded solar grant scheme – the Community Solar Accelerator (CSA) – we now have 8 successful grant allocations and solar installations. Combined these will produce 684 MWh annually – saving 485 tons of CO2 equivalent to 8,015 trees!

The grant funding we have distributed to local small and medium sized businesses now stands at £165,000. Have a look at our case studies for Willard Conservation, Electronic Temperature Instruments, Bird & Blend Tea Co. & Solent Wholesale Carpet Co.

If you know a local business that uses lots of electricity and has a big roof see if they’re eligible for our solar business grant here.

Will from BEC & Jason from GenFit installing solar panels at Rathfinny Wine Estate

Solar Project Pipeline and O&M

We began installing solar PV at Rathfinny Wine Estate in early November and over 1400 panels are now nearly all in place on the Bottling Shed and Cellar roofs. We should be celebrating switching the system on by mid December – fingers crossed!  You can read more here.

BEC is also close to sealing the deal on our next big local solar project – but it’s all still “hush hush” for now, but we will be letting you know soon! In terms of our existing solar portfolio, every year we run checks at our 60+ sites. We completed 2022’s maintenance visits in late October. You’ll be glad to hear the challenging animal situations we faced were all overcome without any harm to our friends, the seagulls and squirrels.   

Member Interest Payments

Interest payments for BEC shares acquired before 31st March 2021 will start on 7th Dec.  There will not be any capital repayment this year, but if you need to withdraw your funds by selling your shares back to Brighton Energy Co-op please get in touch by emailing damian@brightonenergy.org.uk  

Manor Royal Local Energy Community

Re-Energise Manor Royal Business District Consultancy

A vision for Manor Royal’s energy to be sustainable, secure and locally generated 

BEC secured a consultancy position to set up a Local Energy Community (LEC) for Manor Royal Business District.  A LEC is a group of local energy generators, users and other stakeholders who work together to take greater control of their energy supply and management – making it cheaper, cleaner and more resilient. Creation of the LEC is part of the strategy to help Manor Royal businesses progress to net zero.

The Manor Royal BID has partnered with West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council to look at how the Business District can generate and share its own secure, affordable, and low-carbon energy from renewable resources.

The project benefits from EU funding to explore the full range of challenges and opportunities to making Manor Royal a model for other business parks in the UK and Europe.  Read all about this Interreg 2 Seas-funded LECSEA project here

To find out how BEC consultancy could help your organisation contact damian@brightonenergy.org.uk   

Brighton energy co-op webinar

Spreading The Word

BEC’s Communications Manager, Atlanta Cook, presented a case study of Amberley Museum’s BEC-funded solar system to the Julie’s Bicycle Energy Impacts Webinar last month.  Almost 100 people from Arts and Culture organisations across the country attended to discover what they could do to help the UK move towards Net Zero 2030. We would like to thank Julie’s Bicycle for giving us the opportunity to tell a wider audience about BEC’s amazing members and how they work together to make a big impact.  Atlanta also attended the Brighton Chamber of Commerce Green & Circular Economy Job Fair, which we hope will become a regular event where we can engage with young people eager to work in renewables.  You can watch the Julie’s Bicycle webinar and read their report here. 

Our Impact In The Community  

Each year 2% of Brighton Energy’s sales revenue goes into our Community Fund. BEC’s Community Fund Manager, Atlanta Cook, ensures that our 13 Solar Schools and the wider Brighton & Hove school community learn to value and therefore save energy through our Solar Education Programme. We were invited to participate in the energy section of BHCC’s EU Blueprint funded schools Climate Challenge pilot project. We can’t wait to hear the results and what more we can do to help local schools rise to the challenge of carbon reduction. Read about our collaboration with the Energy Sparks charity to cover the educational side of this here.  See all our Solar Schools, Colleges & Universities here

winter woodland walk and talk

BEC Team Update & We’re 12 Years Old!

Coming through the chaos of the pandemic intact and with such a strong team had to be celebrated this year.  With David Owers on Operations & Maintenance and Svenja Czubayko managing our ERDF grant scheme we needed to acknowledge how hard the BEC team had worked. We camped overnight at Knepp Rewilding Estate and cooked dinner together. Damian Tow even took us on a glow worm walk!  We launched our latest Share Offer on Will Cottrell’s liveaboard boat for a bit of fun and were blown away by the positive comments after our AGM in September.  10th November saw us turn 12 – yes, it’s 12 years since we started Brighton’s first community-owned renewable energy project!

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the team, but particularly Svenja for doing such a great job with the Community Solar Accelerator grants, as she’ll be leaving us this month.


In other good news…

Please join our Winter Woodland ‘Low Carbon’ Walk & Talk at 10am on Sat 10th Dec. Plus Accounting have sponsored us with a free year’s membership of The Good Business Club so you can see full details of our free Walk & Talk on  their events calendar here.

We hope you found our Winter Solar News cockle-warming and we would like to thank you all again for the fantastic support you have shown to our latest community energy fund-raiser.

If you’d like to know more about joining Brighton Energy Co-op you can find the Why Get Involved In Community Energy page here.  You can sign up for our newsletter here.

Huge thanks must also go to all our members and supporters whose belief in collective action on climate change and ethical investment in community-owned renewable energy is what’s driving forward the energy transition. Together we make a big impact! 

Warmest regards,

Brighton Energy Co-op


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