Leading renewable energy company Caplor Energy has this month launched a new scheme to support local groups keen to install solar energy systems on community buildings.
The Fownhope-based company is providing a community fund of £100,000 to build solar projects within Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The fund allows community groups to install a solar system with no upfront capital necessary. Phase One of the Community Solar Initiative has attracted more than 20 expressions of interest from local charities and community groups.
Business Development Manager Jamie Baldwin explains: “Our vision at Caplor Energy is to lead the way in creating a vibrant and sustainable community. Our business principles are based on targeting economic, environmental and social goals equally. The Community Solar Initiative encompasses perfectly this ‘triple bottom line’ approach.”
“We’ve been really encouraged by the response we’ve had to the first phase of the scheme, and we are now looking to install up to 10 community projects in the coming months.”
Under the Community Solar Initiative, the costs of a solar photovoltaic installation would be typically paid over a 12-20 year period based on the payments received from the Feed-in Tariff scheme. The Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme means that solar photovoltaic systems receive regular payments over a 25-year period based on the electricity generated from renewable energy projects.
From day one each community building will be able to reduce energy bills by using the electricity generated from the PV system installed. Once the system costs are paid in full, the community group would then also benefit from the remaining Feed-in Tariff payments in addition to savings on their bill. Over the lifetime of the project it is expected that a typical 4kW system under the Community Solar Initiative will deliver savings and an income totalling £20,000 for each community group.
Kate Gathercole, Herefordshire New Leaf Co-ordinator says: “We’re delighted to see that Caplor Energy is taking a lead in supporting communities with renewable energy projects in this way. It’s an innovative scheme that really addresses the main barrier preventing community buildings installing solar systems, which is of course the upfront cost.”