Tag Archives: solar power

Celebrate the sun!

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 info@cew.coop.

Still time to invest

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.

Solar hospitals power ahead

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.

Another bright month for solar-powered hospitals

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.

AGM celebrates a year of achievement

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.”

Solar-powered hospitals complete first year

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.

Join Community Energy Warwickshire at the Small is … Festival

There’ll be a chance to meet local energy co-operative Community Energy Warwickshire at the Small is … Festival at Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire, this Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd September.

Community Energy Warwickshire will be sharing a stall with Transition Stratford all weekend, while on Sunday afternoon co-op secretary Barbara Cooper will be taking part in one of the Festival’s debates: Small vs Big – Meeting global energy needs sustainably.

“This is the second year that Community Energy Warwickshire has taken part in the Small is … Festival,” said Barbara. “As an organisation that’s seeking new ways for sustainable energy, we’re pleased to be able to contribute to Britain’s premier festival for sustainable thinking and practical action.”


Approaching our target – one week to go!

Community Energy Warwickshire is more than half way to its target of raising £100,000 by 21 November in order to install a substantial array of solar panels at local hospitals ahead of the Government’s 12 December cut-off date. And with just a week to go, the south Warwickshire energy co-operative is hoping that further subscriptions for its shares will carry it to the full target.

The revised target was set by Community Energy Warwickshire following the Government’s announcement on 31 October that feed-in tariff rates for solar panels would be cut by more than half from 12 December. The announcement came just one week after Community Energy Warwickshire had launched its offer of community shares to install up to 70 kWp of solar panels on roofs at Warwick and Stratford upon Avon Hospitals.

“The response to our appeal for funding has been fantastic,” said Chair Keith Sinfield. “We had originally planned to raise the money during 2011 and complete the installations in the first two months of 2012. The Government’s announcement has meant bringing forward the deadlines for both fundraising and installation.”

Full details of Community Energy Warwickshire’s plans and of the share offer are available on its website. And shares subscriptions can be made on line as well as by post.


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 www.cew.coop or phone 01789 290736.

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.