Lambeth Community Solar, the first borough-wide energy co-op is offering shares in its first project, installing solar panels on two local schools. Eva Goudouneix reports
Lambeth Community Solar (LCS) has big plans to install solar panels on roofs across the borough, leading it towards a green, sustainable and inclusive future.
Working with residents, schools, local businesses and Lambeth council, the co-op also provides training for young people and educational activities around energy and environment issues.
Repowering has a successful track record of projects, raising more than £450,000 and installing solar panels generating more than 300 kW in Brixton, Hackney, Vauxhall, and Kensington and Chelsea.
Lambeth council and the Greater London Authority have expressed support to the project.
The co-op’s first project will be to install 145kW of solar panels on Elmgreen and the Norwood schools in the South of the borough, beginning this month.
The clean electricity will be sold to the schools at a discounted price and the surplus will be sold to the grid. Profits will be used to pay back the investors, run the co-op and create a community fund of £35,000 over the project’s lifetime.
LCS has launched a community share offer to raise the £137,000 needed to buy and install the panels. Anyone with a UK bank account can invest from £100 upwards. Lambeth residents under 25 can invest from £50.
LCS says investors will receive their capital back alongside average interest payments of 3% across the projects’ 20-year lifetime.
All investors become members of the co-op, giving them a say on how the project is run and how the community fund is spent.
Lambeth residents who cannot invest can become members of the co-op with a symbolic £1, ensuring that it remains inclusive.
LCS has been working closely with both schools on this project. Its logo (right) was designed by a Norwood student, and it has delivered workshops on climate change at the school.
Eight students from both schools were selected for a day of paid work experience installing solar panels.
In future, the community fund will allow LCS to organise further activities to raise awareness around energy and environment issues among young people and help them to learn new skills.
The project is expected to save 31 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, which is the equivalent of what 3,500 trees take out of the atmosphere over the same period – that’s more trees than there are in Brockwell Park.
The share offer ends on 22 November 2019. Visit www.repowering.org.uk/LCS.