The story so far…
Community Energy Warwickshire was set up late in 2010, following a well-attended conference that looked at how local people could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make more of local sources of renewable energy.
Our first initiative was the solar-powered hospitals project – a unique collaboration between a community organisation and an NHS trust. Working with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, Community Energy Warwickshire commissioned the installation of a 10 kWp solar panel array at Stratford upon Avon Hospital in December 2011 and a 50 kWp solar panel array at Warwick Hospital in February 2012, raising over £100,000 through a share issue to fund the work.
Since then, Community Energy Warwickshire has looked at a number of other potential renewable energy projects – including an anaerobic digestion scheme, a micro-hydro project, and further solar PV installations. In March 2014, we launched our second share offer, to fund the installation of solar panels at Leamington Spa Hospital and on a new officce building at Warwick Hospital. A 50 kWp array was installed at Leamington Spa Hospital in June 2014, and a 10 kWp array was installed on the new building in September 2014.
In autumn 2015 we were invited by the Trust to install another solar PV array on a new ward building at Warwick Hospital. After raising over £55,000 in just ten days, the 50 kWp installation was completed shortly before Christmas.
Community Energy Warwickshire has also worked with local energy efficiency advice service Act on Energy on energy saving fairs and workshops. We ran a series of energy fairs in towns in south Warwickshire in early 2012, and we have been running a series of workshops and events in local hospitals as part of an agreement with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust to help improve staff awareness of energy efficiency.
As a community benefit society, Community Energy Warwickshire is committed to ensuring the local people and communities benefit from local energy. We have set up a charitable fund, which is being administered by the Heart of England Community Foundation, to support local energy reduction, fuel poverty and educational activities. This distributed £5,000 in grants in its first year.