What’s On The Horizon For Brighton Energy This Spring?

In this issue…

  • A Bumper Pipeline of Solar Projects
  • 10 Local Businesses Receive One of Our EU-funded Solar Grants 
  • BEC Bond Offer Update
  • BEC’s Consultancy Launched Pioneering New Local Energy Community
  • We’ve Been Experimenting With Broken Solar Panels
  • BEC in the Community
  • Plus Save the Date for BEC’s Summer BBQ at Stanmer Organics.


hit the target

2023 Kicked Off With A Bumper Pipeline Of Solar Projects

After funding a huge solar system at Rathfinny Wine Estate (to the tune of £400,000), we’ve changed tack for our next solar builds and are creating our first ever BEC Bond.

We’ve an exciting assortment of local schools, businesses and a university all moving along the BEC pipeline with the experienced support of our project development team, Matt Brown and David Owers.  We’ll be making some bumper carbon reduction announcements soon.

small business grants

ERDF – Community Solar Accelerator Grants

Our EU-funded solar grant scheme – the Community Solar Accelerator (CSA) – successfully allocated a further 10 grants to Sussex businesses in the last quarter.  By the end of March 1,497.7 kW will have been installed, which will generate 1,422,815 kWh of solar power per year.

Financially we have paid out grants worth £401,652 to 19 Sussex small and medium sized businesses.  We have a further 15 live projects to be completed by June and a further £300,000 of grants to be paid out by the end of September. 

We often found that other businesses saw their neighbours using our grant to install solar panels on their roofs. Several of these neighbouring businesses then decided to install their own PV arrays even without our grant!

Take 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 large roof see if they’re eligible for our solar business grant here.

Brighton Energy Co-op Raise A Glass To Celebrate Rathfinny Wine Estate Solar System

Rathfinny Solar Project nominated for Energy Efficiency Award

Left to right in photo: BEC Non-Exec: Peter Davies, Chair: Will Cottrell, Assoc. Project Manager: David Owers, New Project Developer: Matt Brown & Non-Exec: Sue Paskins

In 2022 over a hundred local people (ethical green investors) bought BEC shares allowing us to build the Rathfinny Wine Estate solar PV system and we want to express our gratitude to all of you.  You’ll be proud to hear that this huge system has been nominated for an ‘Energy Efficiency Award 2023’ by our installer Genfit.

The Regional Large Scale Project of the Year Award rewards one exceptional project, in each of the 11 Regional areas around the UK, where energy efficiency measures of more than £250,000 have been installed.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

BEC Bond Offer Update

Many thanks to all of you who have pledged an interest in our first ever BEC Bond.  Unfortunately, we have a few technical issues at the new site that this relates to which have delayed the launch of the bond.  At present the bond launch is delayed by at least 2 months. Our project development team is working hard to solve these issues and we will be sure to keep you posted as to when the launch will take place.

Brighton Energy Co-op Manor Royal BID West Sussex County Council & Crawley Borough Council Launch REMR
Manor Royal Local Energy Community

BEC Supports Re-Energise Manor Royal Launch

Left to right rear: BEC Project Development Team Matt Brown & David Owers, WSCC Ingrid Bennett , BEC Director & Secretary Damian Tow, Manor Royal BID Exec. Director Steve Sawyer, WSCC Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change Cllr. Deborah Urquhart, Crawley BC Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability Cllr. Gurinder Jhans, Elekta Vice President Global Facilities Management Tim Rose and Crawley BC Sustainability Manager Louise Skipton-Carter. Left to right front: WSCC Energy Services Manager Daire Casey and  WSCC Energy Services Team Andrew Tolfts.

For the past few months Brighton Energy Co-op has been consulting on the set up of a community energy organisation for Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID) in Crawley. 

Manor Royal BID partnered with West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council to look at how the Business District could generate and share its own secure, affordable, and low-carbon energy from renewable resources. Brighton Energy shared their 12 years of experience in the community energy sector to smooth the creation of Re-Energise Manor Royal (REMR).  Its official launch was on March 8th and eight local businesses are already keen to go solar.

See Crawley Borough Council’s article in their Crawley Live publication here and read West Sussex Country Council’s press release here.

This project benefits from EU funding to explore the full range of challenges and opportunities to make 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 Gives Solar Panels to Brighton Bike Hub

Solar Panel Experiments – Waste Not Want Not

As the Brighton Waste Goddess Cat Fletcher says – “It’s not waste until you waste it!”

We continually challenge ourselves at weekly team meetings to reduce waste from our solar builds and think of ways that BEC can reuse or repurpose redundant solar equipment.  Our Chair, Will Cottrell, volunteers at Brighton Bike Hub where he helps repair and redistribute donated bikes to the local community. He recently salvaged six broken solar panels from Rathfinny’s ground mounted solar system and modified them to boost the power source at the Bike Hub.  The Waste Goddess would be pleased!  

When Will heard that over 100 electric bikes were being decommissioned from the BTN BikeShare scheme he challenged us to think of ways to reuse the batteries.  Eventually, a local ebike builder came up with a way of stripping out the batteries and re-stringing them together to power his ebike choppers – check out e-lowrider here.

Brighton Energy at Brighton MET College's Sustainability Matters event

BEC in the Community

BEC Community Fund Manager Atlanta Cook at Brighton MET’s Sustainability Matters event

There’s plenty of talk about Social Value at the moment and we are proud to say that 2% of Brighton Energy’s sales revenue goes into our Community Fund each year – see our social impact here. This currently provides our 13 Solar Schools with bespoke annual BEC Carbon Saving Hero certificates and leaflets that help the schools inform pupils, parents and teaching staff about the great carbon savings their solar systems are making. Our collaboration with Energy Sparks provides a powerful free energy analysis tool & energy education programme to our Solar Schools and the wider Brighton & Hove school community.  

Energy Sparks were in town last month to provide 7 in-person workshops to local schools thanks to  BHCC’s Environmental Education Officer, Katie Eberstein, who is helping us to promote this free service citywide through the ‘Our City, Our World’ project. Read about that here

Mirco Cordeiro Photo

BEC Team Welcomes Mirco Cordeiro

Mirco Cordeiro joined BEC early this year as Community Solar Accelerator Manager while Svenja Czubayko is on extended leave. 

As the ERDF Community Solar Accelerator Manager, Mirco is overseeing the allocation of the remaining funds, as well as reviewing the programme’s internal systems and evidence to ensure it is compliant with ERDF audit requirements to successfully close the Community Solar Accelerator programme. 

In his spare time, he is looking to support the development of a solar energy sector in his native Mozambique as well as tinkering with GIS and Power Automate AI. See his full bio here.


In other good news…

Brighton MET College’s Sustainability Matters event was a great opportunity to inspire young creatives and techies to consider getting involved with community renewable energy companies. It was a real joy to interact with such positive and engaging students. Thanks for the invitation Linda Laurens.

We also enjoyed The Good Business Club’s Meetup Walk with Julia Gillick where we met some really interesting people involved with energy and coffee – also energy! Non-members can try a free taster session here.

Last, but by no means least, please save the date for Brighton Energy’s Summer BBQ at the Earthship at Stanmer Organics on Sat 12th August 12pm-5pm. We’d love you to join us for a BBQ, bar, sound system and more.  It’s an opportunity for you to eat, drink and connect with Nature surrounded by like minded people in a beautiful off-grid setting in Stanmer Park.

If you enjoyed reading BEC’s Summer Solar News please share it with a friend or colleague who might be interested.  We always need help spreading the word! Thank you all again for supporting our latest community energy fund-raiser.  We’ll keep you posted on the BEC Bond.

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 or 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 big a big impact!

Warmest regards,

Brighton Energy Co-op

Share This