BY KENT BARKER

The Hastings cooperative, Energise Sussex Coast, has won a grant to install solar panels in Ore.

Energise Sussex Coast (ESC) is a community benefit organisation set up to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future through the development of community owned renewable energy generation projects.  It also promotes energy efficiency schemes.

The grant money from the Brighton Energy Co-op will be invested in solar panels on roofs in Ore including Downs Farm Community Centre, Broomgrove Community Centre, Bridge Community Centre and Christ Church.

ESC’s long term goal is for Hastings to generate its own clean renewable energy.  It seeks to ensure that any financial profit will remain within the local community instead of flowing into the hands of the major energy companies.

It is also working in collaboration with Brighton Energy Co-op to co-develop solar projects in the 1066 region before the solar feed-in tariff is due to end in March 2019.

Energise Sussex Coast in now looking for local sites with roofs that offer long term solar potential,  including  college or industrial roofs, schools, or churches. Site owners will not have any costs for the panels and will receive low-cost green electricity into the future.

The 1066 Local Energy project will focus on large solar projects – roofs of a minimum of 600 square metres, where local investors can expect to get a reasonable financial return for their shares. The target is to install 1,066 solar roofs.

The Ore Solar Valley Share Scheme is smaller and will focus on putting solar panels on community buildings and local churches in Ore – starting with Broomgrove Community Centre: shares in this are only going to be £25 each with a target of raising £50,000. The aim is for the shares and the assets to be owned by local residents

ESC’s Chris Richards said: “ Speaking to local residents at Downs Farm at last week’s energy café we had the idea that the solar panels and the shares could be gifted to the Residents Associations and see how that might empower the whole community.”

To find out more about becoming an investor in the scheme, please contact kate@energisesussexcoast.co.uk. In March, HIP will produce a special 8 page supplement “The future of Energy” containing further details of the Hastings solar project.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article from Hastings Independent Press. The future of this volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.