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Solar powered hospitals project to press ahead

Community Energy Warwickshire has announced that it is pressing ahead with its share offer to raise funds for its solar-powered hospitals scheme – despite the Government’s announcement on Monday of savage cuts to feed-in tariffs for solar power installations.

The scheme – which would see the installation of solar panels on roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick hospitals – was launched on 24 October. But just one week later the Government announced that cuts of over 50 per cent in feed-in tariffs would be introduced on 12 December.

Community Energy Warwickshire has decided to press ahead to see how many panels can be installed before the 12 December deadline. Chair Keith Sinfield said: “We have decided to see what we can do to salvage the scheme in the short time available. The Government’s announcement has left us with a very challenging task, but we are determined to create a robust project along the lines on which we have worked for the last year.”

The scheme also includes plans to help hospital staff with energy saving, and this is also at risk as a result of the Government’s announcement.

In July Energy Minister Greg Barker described the solar powered hospitals project as “exactly the kind of project delivered through exactly the kind of partnership we need to see more of”. “Unfortunately, the Government is jeopardising this and similar community energy projects,” said Keith Sinfield. “We will be meeting Mr Barker in December and will be urging him to provide a supportive environment for community energy schemes.”

For more infomation about Community Energy Warwickshire and its share offer, go to or phone 01789 290736.

Come to the launch!

Please join us for a glass of wine to celebrate the launch of Community Energy Warwickshire’s share offer – launched to raise £180,000 to fund the installation of solar panels on roofs at Stratford and Warwick hospitals.

The launch event will take place at 8.00 pm on Thursday 3 November in the Ballroom (above the Tourist Information Centre), Warwick Court House, Jury Street, Warwick CV34 4EW.

You will be able to talk to our directors and founder members, meet our partners, and ask any questions you may have about Community Energy Warwickshire and investment in our share offer.

For further information phone Community Energy Warwickshire on 01789 290736 or e-mail

We look forward to seeing you!

Powering the Future – Worcester, Saturday 17 September

Community Energy Warwickshire will be telling people about community-based renewable energy at the Powering the Future event in the Guildhall, Worcester on Saturday 17 September.

The free event, which runs from 9.30 to 4.00, features a number of keynote speakers, as well as workshops exploring specific topics. Barbara Cooper from Community Energy Warwickshire will be leading the workshop on community renewable energy, and Community Energy Warwickshire will have a stand in the exhibition all day.

“Community Energy Warwickshire was set up after an event like this in Warwick just over ago,” said Barbara Cooper, “and it’s great to see the Transition Towns in Worcestershire getting together to organise such a major and highly topical event.”

Installer named for solar-powered hospitals project

Community Energy Warwickshire has announced that Eco2Solar has been awarded the contract for installation of solar PV panels on roofs at Stratford and Warwick hospitals.

Community Energy Warwickshire started a competitive procurement process for the project in March, when invitations to express an interest in solar PV installations were sent to a range of local firms. Five firms were then selected, on the basis of their experience of large and complex installations, to tender for the solar-powered hospitals scheme. Following the receipt of tenders, and a round of detailed follow-up questions, Community Energy Warwickshire’s board has chosen West Midlands firm Eco2Solar as its partner for this project.

Community Energy Warwickshire’s Chair Keith Sinfield said: “After a rigorous procurement process, we are delighted to announce that we will be working with Eco2Solar on our first major project. Eco2Solar offered the best balance of cost-effectiveness and appropriate experience for this innovative scheme.”

Community Energy Warwickshire is now awaiting planning permissions, and plans to launch an offer of community shares to raise funds for the installations in September.

Community Energy Warwickshire wins low carbon programme support

A proposal by Community Energy Warwickshire to develop a model approach to involving local communities in renewable energy projects and energy saving programmes has received support from the West Midlands Low Carbon Economy Porgramme.

The proposal, which was submitted jointly with Rugby-based Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action, will see Community Energy Warwickshire working with a number of community energy organisations across the West Midlands on ways to engage local communities in energy projects.

Community Energy Warwickshire’s Chair, Keith Sinfield, said: “Involving local communities in renewable energy and energy saving projects is part of our long-term plan to develop grassroots sustainable energy. The support from the West Midlands Low Carbon Economy Programme will help us to develop and test a working model for doing this. This will have potential not only for Warwickshire and the West Midlands but for the whole country.”

Trust members hear solar panel plans

Members of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust heard more about Community Energy Warwickshire’s plans to install solar panels on the roofs of local hospitals at the Trust’s Annual General Meeting on 19 July 2011 in Warwick.

Trust Chief Executive Glen Burley highlighted the proposal during his presentation of the Trust’s Annual Report to the meeting, and Finance Director David Moon later pointed to the way that rising energy costs were affecting the Trust’s finances.

Trust members were also able to collect information and ask questions at a Community Energy Warwickshire stall, where a number signed up to receive more information about the forthcoming issue of community shares to fund the installation.

And Trust members generally will be able to read more about Community Energy Warwickshire and the hospitals’ project in the latest issue of the Trust’s magazine The Pulse.

Government minister endorses solar power plan for hospitals

Innovative plans for community involvement in the installation of solar panels at Stratford and Warwick hospitals have been praised by Government energy minister, Greg Barker.

The plans, announced last week by Community Energy Warwickshire and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, would see 70 kilowatts of solar panels installed on selected roofs at the hospitals. Community Energy Warwickshire will be raising the finance for the panels, which will supply the hospitals with reduced price electricity.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday 7 July in reply to a question from Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White, Mr Barker said the scheme was “exactly the kind of project delivered through exactly the kind of partnership that we need to see nore of.”

Keith Sinfield, Community Energy Warwickshire’s chair, said: “We are currently working with the hospitals to organise the installation of the solar panels, and we will shortly be inviting local people to invest in the scheme through a community shares offer.”

The scheme will also see Community Energy Warwickshire promoting opportunities for energy saving with hospital staff. Community Energy Warwickshire’s long-term plans are to work with local communities to help them switch to renewable energy as well as to save energy and cut fuel bills.

Solar powered hospitals get go ahead

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has formally agreed to Community Energy Warwickshire’s proposal for the installation of solar panels on roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick hospitals.

The solar panels will provide electricity at a discount to the Trust as well as helping it to reduce its carbon footprint. Community Energy Warwickshire will also be working with the Trust to encourage staff and visitors to help the hospitals to cut their energy costs as part of a programme of energy saving activities.

Funds for the scheme, which is believed to be the first time the NHS has worked with the local community to install solar power at hospitals, will be raised by offering people shares in Community Energy Warwickshire.

Jayne Blacklay, Director of Development at the Trust, said “We are excited to work with Community Energy Warwickshire on this project. It will help us further reduce our carbon footprint, and we will be working with Community Energy Warwickshire to engage our staff in continuing to contribute to the Trust’s carbon reduction programme.”

For Community Energy Warwickshire, Chair Keith Sinfield said: “The agreement with the Trust will launch the first major community development of renewable energy in south Warwickshire and will help us to offer opportunities to local people to save energy and cut fuel costs.”