A community energy record number ‘321′ council owned homes have received free solar PV assets. Over 75% of the houses are bungalows, in which elderly tenants live and 25% of our residents are on pre-payment meters. The contractor for the installations is British Gas Solar, who has warranted the performance of the systems. All homes have benefitted from a solar electricity monitor which helps residents maximise their savings by indicating when the solar panels are generating and when to use the free electricity. In the first year, the tenants have saved over £40,000 in reduced electricity bills, with the systems generating over 800 MWh’s of electricity, and over 400 tonnes of reduced carbon emissions.
Social impact from the project is a key driving factor and at all stages of the scheme we have tried to maximise the benefits for our community. In addition to the tenants electricity savings, there is a large proportion (over 40%) of the community members from the Yorkshire region, and the first distribution of the community fund (value £20,000 year one) has taken place.
Our project aims to:
- reduce levels of fuel poverty
- help support the most vulnerable in our community
- develop our community’s resilience
- reduce carbon emissions from the Barnsley area
- educate residents on energy saving and other low carbon technologies
- demonstrate how communities can work with local authorities to deliver long-term sustainable infrastructure
The ‘Barnsley Solar Bond’ raised £800,000 in investment in under three months over the summer of 2016. This was a great success, and testament to the stakeholders and partners in the project. Ignite providing the underwriting to the project, whilst BG Solar was the main contractor and provider of the performance warranties. Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council is the owner of the properties, with the residential homes managed by Berneslai Homes. Both organisations gave great support, time and effort to the partnership.
The remaining finance for the project is through a long term loan from ethical lender, Charity Bank. The ‘Barnsley Solar Bond’ has completed two sets of due diligence, one for a social impact fund, and a bank.
We are working closely with our partners to develop heating and energy storage schemes across the Barnsley area, each project will be ring fenced so that financial risks are not shared across project investors.