Recently, the Government’s community energy strategy benefited from a major boost after British Gas signed a deal worth up to £60 million which could see it install solar panels on up to 8000 rooftops across the UK.
In an exciting new partnership, British Gas Solar, the solar division of the energy provider has teamed up with a community energy project developer and a social impact investment specialist known as Social Finance to develop a range of solar rooftop projects for the likes of schools and public buildings across the country.
Solar energy solutions, such as solar panels, are increasing in popularity in locations around the UK, such as Preston where one of the country’s leading providers of solar panels, Project Solar UK, performs some of its roof installations.
A spokesperson for British Gas told the media that the upcoming project represented one of the first community energy initiatives on a national scale, thanks to the backing of one of the UK’s largest energy companies. She added that the organisations involved were now reaching out to local authorities and schools to discuss potential sites for new solar installations.
Members of the communities involved in the projects will also be given the opportunity to purchase shares in the projects, allowing them to enjoy some of the financial rewards that come with taking part in the project. The partnership is apparently hoping to raise 20% of the finance required in the local community.
Once the finance has been raised, Generation Community will oversee the project, working alongside local authorities, while British Gas Solar will act as the contractor for the project by installing and maintaining the panels. Schools and public sector buildings who opt to host the solar arrays will be able to benefit from reduced energy bills as they take advantage of clean power being generated on their site.
The head of energy construction services at British Gas spoke of the project as a ‘breakthrough in the delivery of community energy across the UK’. He went on to say:
“We are proud to be the first commercial energy partner working alongside social enterprises that will provide new ways of delivering power to communities”
The director of Generation Community said that the partnership presented an exciting chance to deliver renewable energy professionally whilst keeping community values at the heart of the project. He urged local authorities to come forward and take full advantage of the project.
The announced project was welcomed by the Government, who in recent months has announced plans to expand the fledgling community energy sector by shifting the market away from solar farms and on to rooftop panels.