Invitation to join community energy scheme that powers local projects

June 13 2020
Invitation to join community energy scheme that powers local projects

RESIDENTS in mid-Somerset can help power large-scale solar projects by joining Avalon Community Energy during Community Energy Fortnight (June 13-27).

Avalon Community Energy (ACE) was set up in 2014 as a community-owned cooperative to manage local solar power projects funded through share issues. So far, installations in two schools and one in a business park are saving 70 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Just a decade ago only three per cent of the UK’s energy came from wind or solar but so far this year renewable energy has accounted for more generation (37 per cent) than all fossil fuels.

ACE directors would like to hear from people with ideas for large-scale solar projects that could contribute to a new Somerset-wide community energy organisation.

Anyone can become a member for just £10 and have a say in the development of local solar projects and how a community benefit fund could be used.

Joanna Davey from Wells has been a member of Avalon Community Energy since it was launched and said: “I got involved with ACE to make a practical, tangible difference by investing in local solar projects.

“Knowing that two schools and a local business are generating sustainable energy from sunshine is such a powerful and tremendously satisfying way to tackle climate change. That simple connection really helps me feel hopeful that I can contribute to reversing the damage to our world.

“I’ve learnt that collaborating with others not only amplifies my efforts but also encourages me when I feel downcast.

“The best thing is that anyone with just a modest amount of money can contribute and create a better future.”

In the last year Avalon Community Energy has celebrated a year of energy generation from its latest solar project at Hugh Sexey C of E Middle School in Blackford and facilitated new solar panels at the Connect Centre, Wells. It has also teamed up with IDDEA to launch Solar Streets to help make the installation of rooftop solar panels more affordable for households.

This year Community Energy Fortnight highlights the role that renewable energy can play in transition and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. It wants to harness local co-operation that has been a feature in cities, towns and villages across England to spark discussions about shared ownership of energy generation.

Chair of Avalon Community Energy Stewart Crocker said: “Community-owned energy enables people to make a practical contribution to tackling the climate emergency by driving down carbon emissions. By coming together in this way we can create a more decentralised, democratised and ultimately more secure energy system.”

Picture: The solar project at Hugh Sexey C of E Middle School