Here comes the sun – Banister House launches solar co-op
Tonight, residents at Banister House, Hackney are launching the first solar power farm in north London, not in a field but on the sunblest flat rooftops of 14 council blocks on the estate. Backed by Repowering London, Hackney Council and campaigners from Hackney Energy, Banister House Solar Energy is a community-owned renewable energy project whose financial revenues benefits the local community directly.
Based on Repowering London’s award-winning model for the Brixton Energy solar co-ops, Banister House will generate up to 82,000 kWh of electricity a year. Athena Electrical, a women only solar power company based in Hackney, will install the solar array, which will have a maximum output capacity of 102 kilowatts. Using the government’s feed-in tariffs, the scheme will generate a stable income for the community that will help combat fuel poverty, and provide training and work experience opportunities for the Banister community, one of Hackney’s largest social housing estates.
And buried in a mass of official statistics is the fact that the UK doubled the amount of electricity from solar power last year, so it’s now 6% of the electricity generated by wind, wave, biomass and other renewables
The Feed in Tariff, which will finance the Banister scheme, has supported over 640,000 installations, representing over 2.8 gigawatts of solar power capacity registered by the end of January 2015.
Hackney Council and local residents will launch Banister House Solar on Tuesday, March 31st 19:00- 21:00.
So tonight, BH needs to raise about £140,000 from investors small and large. Individuals can become members of the UK’s largest inner city community-owned solar project by buying a share of the 102 kilowatt solar array – shares will be available from £50 for estate residents up to a maximum of £40,000.
The solar array is expected to save approximately over 39 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year for at least two decades by replacing electricity that would otherwise be generated by coal and gas power stations.
A team of 10 young residents, who have been involved in the project development, are set to benefit from paid work experience installing solar panels on the roof alongside professional installers. The young people joined the project because of their enthusiasm for their community and their desire to improve their own future opportunities.
This is what they say:
“This project for me is very important as it is a chance for me to make a change in my community, and to show that young people are also capable of making a difference and that we should not be dismissed so easily.” Aisha Fortunato, young Banister House resident
“I know what fuel poverty is because I’ve lived it! Over the last year being involved in setting up this community energy project I believe it will help take the power back into our own hands. Come join us.” Leila Fortunato, Banister House Solar director
“This is about creating locally owned energy societies with one member and one vote democratic structures where citizens to have a say both in employment and energy infrastructure. Banister House Estate is the start of a democratised energy movement that will create a community energy revolution.” Agamemnon Otero, Repowering London