Community Energy Warwickshire has doubled the size of its solar PV arrays at Warwick Hospital after installing another 50 kWp array on the top of the new Beauchamp/Greville/Thomas ward block.
The installation was organised and completed in just over two months to help South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, the owner of Warwick Hospital, to discharge a planning requirement for the new building.
After agreeing to take on the project in early October 2015, Community Energy Warwickshire specified and tendered the project, raised over £55,000 in new share capital, and appointed Eco2solar to undertake the work. With Government changes to Feed-in Tariff rates imposing tight deadlines, Eco2solar completed the installation just before Christmas.
“We are pleased we have been able to help the Trust discharge its planning obligations – and to increase the amount of solar PV capacity locally,” said Community Energy Warwickshire’s Chair, Keith Sinfield. “The Government’s plans to make major reductions to Feed-in Tariffs made it vital that we moved quickly to ensure the project was financially viable – and we are grateful to all those who invested in the project at such short notice.”
The new array brings the total solar PV capacity installed on hospitals run by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust to 170 kWp.
Community Energy Warwickshire is increasing its funding to local communities in the coming year by making more money available through its grant scheme for energy projects.
The grant scheme, which is administered for Community Energy Warwickshire by the Heart of England Community Foundation, makes available grants for energy-related projects in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire. Grants are available for projects which aim to increase the energy efficiency of community buildings, raise awareness of energy issues, help develop energy industry skills, and tackle causes of fuel poverty.
During the current year, Community Energy Warwickshire has made available £5,500 to the scheme, which has helped to fund five local projects. In the coming year funding will increase by a third to £7,365.
Community Energy Warwickshire’s Chair, Keith Sinfield, who sits on the Heart of England Community Foundation committee that awards the grants, said: “Community Energy Warwickshire is a community benefit society. We put aside a third of our profits each year to fund grants that can tackle energy issues in the communities where we operate. In this way we aim to spread the benefits of local renewable energy as wide as possible.”
Two new members were elected to Community Energy Warwickshire’s Board at the society’s AGM on Saturday 20 June 2015.
Marc Eberhard, a lecturer in Electronic Engineering at Aston University, and Ruth Grinbergs, a recently retired property lawyer with interests in environmental law, were elected to the Board at a well-attended meeting in Church Lawford Village Hall. They replace retiring directors James Pavitt and Peter Pettifor.
The meeting had previously received Community Energy Warwickshire’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2014, a year which saw the installation of another 60 kWp of solar PV arrays on roofs at local hospitals. The year also saw the start of Community Energy Warwickshire’s grant scheme, which is administered by Heart of England Community Foundation. Five grants have been awarded during the year to help communities with energy advice, building insulation and energy audits, and the meeting approved a proposal to increase the amount disbursed through the grant scheme in 2015 in line with the rise in Community Energy Warwickshire’s turnover.
Following the AGM, a Special General Meeting was held to discuss and approve changes to Community Energy Warwickshire’s constitution to bring it into line with recent legal changes. The new constitution will now be sent to the Financial Conduct Authroity for regsitration.
Community Energy Warwickshire members will be celebrating the sun on Saturday 25 October, when they gather at Leamington Spa Hospital to mark the successful installation of two arrays of solar panels on local hospitals.
A large 50 kWp array has been installed at Leamington Spa Hospital and a smaller 10 kWp array on a new office building on the site of Warwick Hospital as part of Community Energy Warwickshire’s Solar-powered Hospitals project. The project started in 2011, when solar panel arrays were installed on roofs at Stratford on Avon and Warwick Hospitals. The new arrays double the size of the project.
The installations have been paid for by the members of Community Energy Warwickshire, who have bought shares in the co-operative with members being paid a return of 3 per cent on their share holding. South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which owns the hospitals, benefits from cheap electricity from the solar panels.
“We are pleased to be able to celebrate the successful completion of our second major installation of solar panels with those who have helped make it possible,” said Keith Sinfield, Chair of Community Energy Warwickshire. “Community Energy Warwickshire aims to benefit communities in the county through investment in local sustainable energy projects.”
The celebration will take place at 11.00 am on Saturday 25 October at Leamington Spa Hospital, Heathcote Lane, Warwick CV34 6RS. For more details, contact Community Energy Warwickshire on 01789 290736 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s still time to invest in Community Energy Warwickshire’s latest solar PV generation scheme.
The first part of the scheme – the installation of 50 kWp of solar panels on a roof at Leamington Spa Hospital in Whitnash – has now been completed. And the panels generated over 3,500 units of electricity in their first fortnight!
Community Energy Warwickshire is now moving on to the second part of the scheme – the installation of a 10 kWp solar PV array on a new office building on a site adjacent to Warwick Hospital. Final technical details have recently been sorted out with Eco2solar, the Kidderminster-based company which is to carry out the installation.
“So far we have raised nearly £78,000 for this latest scheme,” says Keith Sinfield, Chair of Community Energy Warwickshire. “We’re now seeking the £10,000 needed to complete the second element of the project.”
Full details, including a revised share offer document, are available on the Community Energy Warwickshire website at www.cew.coop.
Community Energy Warwickshire’s latest project, which will put more solar panels on the roofs of local hospitals, has passed an important milestone with work now scheduled to start of the installation of a 50 kilowatt solar array at Leamington Spa Hospital early in June.
The installation was given the green light by Community Energy Warwickshire’s Board after hearing that the share offer launched to raise funds for the project had already raised over £60,000.
And there’s also been good news on the follow-on project at Warwick Hospital, where the aim is to install an array of solar panels on a new office building. The building – which had not even started when Community Energy Warwickshire launched its share offer to raise funds for the installation – is now nearly complete, and work is under way with the appointed panel installer to finalise plans for the installation.
“Although we are going ahead with the first phase of installation, our share offer will continue,” said Community Energy Warwickshire Chair Keith Sinfield. “We need another £40,000 to complete the two installations and double the size of our innovative solar-powered hospitals project.”
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 www.cew.coop or phone 01789 290736.
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.”