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.”
Over a quarter of the money needed for Community Energy Warwickshire’s new solar-powered hospitals project has been subscribed in the first two weeks of the share offer and the scheme has received a further boost with the news that income tax relief will be available on investments.
Community Energy Warwickshire launched the second phase of its solar-powered hospitals project on Monday 31 March, aiming to raise £110,000 to install over 80 kWp of solar panels on roofs at Leamington Spa Hospital and Warwick Hospital. In the first two weeks of the share offer, which runs until the end of June, £28,750 has been subscribed – an excellent start, according to Community Energy Warwickshire’s secretary, Barbara Cooper.
Barbara has also received from HM Revenue and Customs a letter giving advanced assurance that investments in the share offer will qualify for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief. This means that investors will be able to claim back 30 per cent of the cost of their investment as relief against their income tax payments. “This means a £500 investment will actually cost the investor just £350 if they are able to claim against their income tax,” said Barbara.
For more information about the share offer – and to find out hos to invest – click the green button on Community Energy Warwickshire’s website at www.cew.coop.
February 2014 was another bright month for Community Energy Warwickshire’s solar-powered hospitals project.
The month saw over 2,800 units of electricity generated by Community Energy Warwickshire’s solar panel arrays on roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick hospitals – nearly 25 per cent more than in the same month last year. The month also saw daily peaks of generation matching those last seen in October 2013 – a sure sign that winter is on the way out!
For a copy of this latest monitoring report, contact Community Energy Warwickshire.
Nearly a third of Community Energy Warwickshire shareholders attended its 2013 Annual General Meeting on Saturday 1 June to hear about the co-op’s work in the preceding year – and to enjoy lunch in the early summer sunshine at the Lifeways Centre, Stratford upon Avon.
Shareholders heard how the solar PV arrays which Community Energy Warwickshire has installed at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick Hospitals had generated over 56,000 kWh of electricity in their first year, saving nearly 28 tonnes of carbon dioxide. And the co-op has been in discussion about four further solar PV projects during the course of the year, with the two largest the most likely candidates for development.
During the year Community Energy Warwickshire has also investigated the possibility of a hydro-electricity project on the River Leam and an anaerobic digestion scheme based in Stratford upon Avon, as well as discussing the development of an energy strategy for Garden Organic’s site at Ryton, near Coventry.
Looking ahead, the meeting approved donations to several local hospital League of Friends organisations, and heard plans to set up a charitable trust to co-ordinate its community benefit activities in the future.
Community Energy Warwickshire’s chair Keith Sinfield said: “The AGM is offers the opportunity to keep shareholders informed about Community Energy Warwickshire’s wide range of activities – and for shareholders to hold the Board of Directors to account for their actions over the preceding year. It was pleasing that shareholders are so supportive of our work to date – and enthusiastic for it to continue.”
Community Energy Warwickshire’s solar-powered hospitals project, which saw 60 kWp of solar panels installed on roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick hospitals, has completed its first year. And despite the poor weather during summer 2012, the panels have generated over 56,000 kW hours since installation – enough to save 28 tonnes of carbon.
The monthy records show the pattern of the local weather over the past 12 months – a sunny March followed by a dull April, a brighter May followed by a very dull June. The best day for generation for the larger 50 kWp array at Warwick Hospital was Saturday 26 May, when 345 units were generated – and the end of May was especially sunny, with 2,232 units generated in the week from 22 May to 28 May. At the other extreme, heavy cloud and snow prevented any generation at all at Warwick on 21 January 2013 – the middle of a week in which just 11 units were generated in total.
Community Energy Warwickshire director Roger Matthews, who has been monitoring the output over the last year, said there had been great fluctuations in generation day by day. “Last summer’s weather was recognised as particularly poor, and we had few periods of any length when the sun shone consistently. Despite this, the panels generated above their factory specification and have already made a contribution to saving carbon for the hospitals.”
Following the installation of the solar panels at Stratford and Warwick Hospitals, Community Energy Warwickshire has been working with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which owns the two hospitals, on energy saving sessions for Trust staff. The energy co-operative is also looking at a number of possible follow-on projects.