Following a successful bid, Wight Community Energy has been awarded £68,250 from Power to Change to deliver a number of new community-based renewable energy projects on the Isle of Wight.
Wight Community Energy will be part of the national Next Generation community energy programme which helps to equip community-owned solar groups with the knowledge, skills and opportunities that they need to take ownership and develop their solar assets into long term successful projects that deliver against local needs and priorities.
Wight Community Energy will use the funding to develop the work being done at the community-owned Homestead solar farm at Shalfleet, including monitoring and improving the biodiversity at the site and investigating ways in which the solar energy generated at Homestead can be stored effectively to better meet local demand.
There is also additional funding allocated for Wight Community Energy to pioneer other innovative community-led energy projects on the Isle of Wight.
Colin Palmer, director of Wight Community Energy said, “This funding is transformative for Wight Community Energy. It has enabled us to increase our staffing levels and bring in consultants and project partners to work on ambitious projects that we could not possibly undertake alone. We look forward to getting these new projects off the ground and improving the renewable energy offer on the Isle of Wight.”
Megan Blyth, senior project worker at the Centre for Sustainable Energy who are administering the grant on behalf of Power to Change said, “This Power to Change grant will support Wight Community Energy in improving the biodiversity of the Homestead site, developing innovative pilot projects and routes to reducing the impacts of the grid constraints on the Island, and preparing for a successful community share-raise in 2021. We are excited to see how this will lead to the expansion of sustainable energy and innovative community-based projects on the isle of Wight.”
This funding will enable Wight Community Energy to research, test and develop new business models in the production, delivery and storage of renewable energy on the Isle of Wight. They will be working with grid operators, policy makers and the wider energy industry to deliver the energy system transformation that is needed to ensure the UK’s net zero target of 2050 is met.