An urgent campaign called ‘Power to Society’ (www.powertosociety.com) has been launched today by Low Carbon Solar following the Coalition Government’s backtracking over funding for community scale solar energy schemes. The campaign site provides an easy way for the public and landowners to register their support for solar energy and to write to their MP urging the Government to shelve plans for an early review of pre-set Feed-in-Tariffs and to protect these community schemes
The community scale schemes that have been thrown into doubt could provide electricity to tens of thousands of homes and business, and put at risk the ability of the UK to meet its climate change targets which require that 30% of our electricity must come from renewables by 2020, up from just 7% today.
The current Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme encourages more renewable energy generation and applies to schemes of up to five megawatts (MW) – enough to meet the electricity needs of around 1,000 homes. However the proposed early review from the Government, coming a year earlier than expected, will look at projects that produce more than 50 kilowatts of electricity – effectively anything bigger than an average primary school roof. Small-scale solar installation is not going to deliver the renewable energy required, hence the need for community scale schemes. For example, figures from Cornwall Council show that at the current rates of domestic PV installation in Cornwall, it would take 107 years to install 100MW.
‘Power to Society’ promotes the wide-ranging benefits of community-scale solar schemes which typically located on the roofs of large buildings, on land not suitable for agricultural use and on non-utilised industrial or derelict sites. The benefits include the creation of new jobs, a diversified income for farmers and landowners, reduced energy costs for businesses and the provision of more secure and reliable energy for the UK. In addition for every community scale project Low Carbon Solar develops, it establishes a Parish Trust into which it proposes is paid a fixed sum per megawatt of power, every year for the life of the project. In the case of a 5MW site that would be £25,000 a year for 25 years, or £625,000. Low Carbon Solar also champions local community ownership of sites so that people can benefit from long term revenue from these developments.
Mark Shorrock, CEO of Low Carbon Solar and the driving force behind Power to Society, said: “In pulling back on a commitment to support solar energy, the Government will cause the abandonment of scores of ‘Big Society’ community-owned schemes and hundreds of other developments that could have seen individual parishes benefit from up to £25,000 every year and more local jobs created.
“The ill-conceived and dangerously short-sighted proposals will have further unintended consequence, including the Government missing a European target of generating 30% of electricity from renewables by 2020, and therefore incurring significant fines. We urge people to support the case for solar and sign up to Power to Society now.”
For more information contact:
Andrew Baud, Kate Habberley or Catherine McNulty
About Low Carbon Solar:
Low Carbon Solar, based in Cirencester, is the development arm of Low Carbon Group and was founded in 2010 with the desire to take renewable energy projects out to local communities. For more information please visit www.lowcarbonsolar.com