Community is shining on solar share investment

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 Aug 2017

GRIMSBY Community Energy has raised all the money needed to fund the first phase of renewable energy projects.

A total of £115,300 has been invested, and much of it has comes from ‘ordinary people’ who have each invested from £100 upwards, with more on a waiting list for any further issue.

The community benefit society now has 49 members – all with a democratic say in how the organisation is run.   

It also means £25,000 will come from the Power to Change Trust, via Co-operatives UK, who will become Grimsby Community Energy’s 50th member.  

The organisation owns 100kW of solar PV panels on five buildings across Grimsby. 

These include E-Factor’s Enterprise Village and Business Hive, the Enrolled Freemen of Grimsby, and the St Andrew’s Hospice and Rock Foundation charity shops in Freeman Street. 

Director Dr Vicky Dunn said: “Everyone – from the big six energy companies downwards – says the future of energy is local, community owned and low carbon.   We’ve done our level best to bring this future here. So far, our finances, electricity generation and carbon savings are all on target.” 

The solar panels provide cheaper, low carbon electricity for the occupants, and a financial return for members of Grimsby Community Energy. It comes as North East Lincolnshire Council makes strides towards having Great Grimsby declared a Low Carbon exemplar town, building on the internationally-recognised offshore wind operations and maintenance hub, which recently passed 1GW of installed capacity.

As previously reported, it includes district heating as well as potential feeding from the power coming onshore here, with the ultimate aim to be self-sufficient. Next month the borough hosts a national conference, bringing industry and academic experts to the town.

And the message is being picked up in the community too. Liz Drury, a college lecturer, who also runs her own voiceover business, said “The opportunity to invest in clean, green, renewable energy for community buildings in our area was too good to miss. Anything we can do to reduce CO2 levels and protect our planet has to be a good thing. The fact that there is a financial return on the investment is just a bonus!”

The organisation’s first annual meeting will now be held on September 5, as next steps are pondered.
Chairman Richard Bellamy said “We are now looking at the best community owned projects around the country, and taking advice from Co-operatives UK and Community Energy England on what to do next. We now have a waiting list of people who want shares!”

Grimsby Community Energy’s first Annual General Meeting is on September 5, from 5pm, at E-Factor’s Enterprise Village. Members and guests are welcome, and can register at Eventbrite or call  07932 086 539.


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