Community Energy

Community energy schemes are a way of getting renewable energy projects built at scale within your local area. The local community invest as shareholders in the project and then benefit from the income generated.

WHAT IS COMMUNITY SOLAR?

Across the UK hundreds of groups have come together to work towards a clean, democratically owned supply of energy: ‘Community energy’.

We share this bold vision for the future.  In fact, we helped develop it, having installed the very first community-funded installation in Oxford in 2008.  It’s a vision that’s very different from the past century.  Historically a handful of massive corporations owned and controlled our power system, creating pollution along the way.  A community energy approach means clean generation that is owned by, and benefits, the local community.

There are now hundreds of community energy groups across the country, where people have come together to take meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions.  As well as work on energy efficiency, many community groups are also developing their own renewable energy generating assets.

Community groups can use their local knowledge to identify sites.  Schools are an obvious example, but other community buildings and local businesses are also viable as host sites.  The community group then raises the finance to fund the scheme.  Once built, the host site purchases the generated electricity from the community group at a subsidised rate, through a contract known as a Power Purchase Agreement.   The community group then uses this income to pay back their investors, usually at about 5% per year.  There’s typically a surplus fund produced that can then fund other environmental projects within the local area.  It’s a win for the investors, a win for the host site, and a win for the wider community.  What’s not to like?

Members of the local community can get involved in any number of ways.  They can simply invest in the scheme, get involved in finding sites and developing projects, or finding ways to spend surplus funds in creative and environmentally beneficial ways.

  • Salisbury Cathedral, solar, spire
    The Salisbury Cathedral Solar Roof
  • Orchard Field Community School
  • Prodrive to the moon and back
  • Marks and Spencer – Community Energy Scheme
  • Green Oak leads the Way with LEDs
  • Academic First for SOAS
  • commercial battery storage, sonnen, repower balcombe, sussex, Eco8
    Commercial Battery Storage at Turners Hill School
  • Egni Coop, Graint Thomas Velodrome, Newport Councl, largest solar roof in Wales,
    Egni Coop’s Welsh Community Solar Programme
  • Wey Valley Schools
  • Fox Primary School
  • Norbar Tools
  • Oxford Bus Company
  • Low Carbon Hub

JOJU’S WORK WITH COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECTS

We are proud that we’ve been pioneers of community energy from the very beginning. We built the first community share-funded solar installation in the UK back in 2008, and have continued to work closely with numerous community groups around the country ever since.

Community Energy England report that 155 MW of community solar has been built in the UK.  Joju Solar have installed about 10% of this total.  The national total includes some huge solar farm developments, but Joju’s community solar energy projects have all been on rooftops.  We’ve installed literally hundreds of community energy projects across a vast range of sites.

Highlights of our community energy work include:

The Largest Solar Roof in Wales

Newport’s Geraint Thomas Velodrome hosts the largest solar roof in Wales.  The Egni Coop community energy group documented the entire installation process in this short film.

Call 0207 697 1000 to discuss your community energy project

HOW JOJU CAN HELP WITH YOUR COMMUNITY SOLAR POWER PROJECT

We’re incredibly experienced and well connected within the community energy sector.  That means we are very well placed to help any community energy group develop their projects.

If you are a community energy group looking at developing a portfolio of projects, we can help with the initial scoping, viability and pricing of the sites.  As portfolios progress, we manage all of the technical side – grid connection applications, site surveys, and planning guidance.  And when it comes to the installation phase, we undertake the full suite of pre-start meetings, H&S assessments, installation, commissioning and maintenance aftercare.

Alternatively, we are often approached by commercial buildings, who would like to go solar but don’t have the funds readily available to build a project.  Here we can use our extensive network of community energy groups to introduce you to a community energy partner to raise the finance and sell you the electricity via a Power Purchase Agreement.  This, for example, is how M&S came to install community-funded solar on their supermarkets.

We’ve installed 10% of all community solar energy in the UK.  It’s all on rooftops across hundreds and hundreds of sites.

Salisbury Cathedral, solar, spire, Sunpower, Joju Solar

At the time of build, this 836kW array at Prodrive was the largest community solar roof in the country

Future possibilities for Community Energy

We’re always interested in new areas to look to open up to the benefits of democratically owned community energy.  Here’s just two that we are working on right now.

The transition to electric vehicles will require the replacement of all petrol stations in the country with a network of millions of electric vehicle chargers.  But who is going to own and operate these charge points?  As you might imagine, electricity companies, oil and gas companies, charge point manufacturers and IT companies all want to be the big players here.

But why not have local charge points that are owned by, and benefit, the local community?  Could a community group own the chargers in their region?  Drivers would then pay to use the charge points, and the funds generated would then return to the local community.  Perhaps schools and other community focal points will double up as charging hubs for residents that don’t have their own driveways?  There’s a lot of exciting possibilities here, and we’d love to explore them with you.

Find Out More about Community Energy

For Schools, Solar Schools

Solar Schools

Schools are the obvious location for a community energy project.  Find out more about our community funded offer for schools here.

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Rotherham Metroploitan Borough Council, car park, EV charge point, solar, battery, Tesla

Councils

Community projects can have a greater reach if run in conjunction with local councils.  Here’s how we work with councils on their solar ambitions.

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CommercialRooftop

Commercial Rooftops

Large commercial rooftops are ideal for a community solar project, giving benefits to both the host businesses and the wider community.

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