Barnsley Council have launched an exciting new scheme called Energise Barnsley, which consists of plans for solar panels to be installed on about 5,000 council houses and buildings in the area.
At a local even event, opened by Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, residents were provided with information on Energise Barnsley which will see solar panels installed onto approximately 5,000 council houses and council-owned buildings within the next few months. Cllr Houghton said “We are pleased to have such a significant investment happening in Barnsley and we are incredibly grateful to our partners for bringing Energise Barnsley to life.”
“Energise Barnsley will have a big impact on our local communities. Cheaper energy will mean reduced bills and the surplus money generated will allow local groups to access a Community Cash Fund to support community projects in the local area.“
Energise Barnsley is the biggest community energy project involving roof-based solar panels in the UK. The project, involving Barnsley Council, Berneslai Homes, British Gas and Generation Community, is a great example of a blue chip company working with a local authority to provide energy benefits for local communities.
Director of Energy Construction Services at British Gas, Mike Chessum said “We’re very pleased to be working alongside our partners to help develop and deliver this ground-breaking project in Barnsley. We’re committed to supporting the growth of community energy and believe it can bring so many benefits – not just clean renewable energy, but also clear social and economic benefits such as new jobs and help for those in vulnerable circumstances.”
“We look forward to working with Energise Barnsley as we begin our installation work in a few months’ time, and to helping more organisations through this scheme and through our newly announced Distributed Energy and Power business, which will help communities benefit from their own generation and renewable energy technology in the future.”
The capital costs of the project are likely to exceed £16 million, to be made by project partners. Barnsley Council will make no capital investment and surplus income generated by the scheme will be put back into the community via a Community Cash Fund which will be used to support community projects in the local area. Groups likely to benefit from the cash fund range from those working with people experiencing fuel poverty to those working with vulnerable members of the community.
Residents and the wider community will be able to invest in Energise Barnsley, through a community share offer, which is likely to give an annual return of 5% plus tax benefits. Energise Barnsley will finance the installation and maintenance of the solar panels. Ignite, a social investment fund, has committed £2 million to Energise Barnsley in support of the community share offer.