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.
Members of Community Energy Warwickshire heard of the sucesses of the last year at the co-op’s 2012 Annual General Meeting, held in Leamington Spa on Tuesday 22 May 2012.
Co-op Secretary Barbara Cooper recalled that at the 2011 Annual General Meeting “we did not even have a bank account”. But in the last year, Community Energy Warwickshire has successfully installed 60 kWp of solar panels at roofs at Stratford upon Avon and Warwick Hospitals, thanks to an innovative agreement with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals.
Funding for the installations was raised through a share offer which raised over £100,000, and the project also involved the development of a new template for solar panel leases, which is now available to other community groups. Co-op members also heard how the project had to navigate the uncertainties created by the Government’s attempts to cut feed-in tariffs for solar energy installations.
Following the installation of the solar panels, the co-op has carried out an initial feasibility study of hte use of local food waste to generate energy through anaerobic digestion and it is launching an Energy Savers scheme to help households reduce energy consumption in the home. Community Energy Warwickshire’s newly expanded Board will be developing plans for future projects over the summer.
Community Energy Warwickshire is also a finalist in this year’s Renewable Energy Association awards.
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.
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.”