Community-Owned Solar Power Station Switched On, Beating Deadline


Image credit: OVESCo

I reported before on huge public support for a community-owned power station on a local brewery in Lewes, England. But time was not on the project's side—a radical rethink of Government solar subsidies meant that large scale solar projects had to be completed before August 1st to qualify for suport that would make them financially viable. News comes that OVESCo (Ouse Valley Energy Services Company) has gone online with its solar power station, and in the nick of time. This from their press release:

As the 1st August Feed In Tariff deadline looms, the local community of Lewes in East Sussex prepare to be the first and last in the UK to to fully fund the installation of a 98kwp solar PV system on the roof of their local brewery, Harvey's.
They will tomorrow be holding a party to celebrate the system going live - yet it will be something of a bittersweet celebration.

Ovesco, the pioneering Lewes based energy services company who have managed the share issue and installation, were hoping that their funding model would become a blueprint for other communities in the UK who wanted to take energy generation into their own hands.But the Government's changes to the Feed In Tariff which kicks in on Monday 1st August will introduce a new band of subsidies so projects such as the Ovesco solar roof are no longer financially viable.

In related news, I should note that when I posted about a 1.4MW solar power plant in an old tin mine, I questioned the installers claims that it was the largest in the country—having just reported on the 4.1MW installation at a Toyota factory. It turns out that the Toyota installation was not quite finished at the time—so the claim was indeed true at time of going to press. (Apologies to Solarcentury.) But news is now in that the Toyota array also got finished just before the August 1st deadline.

While it is indeed sad to see larger-scale solar get stopped in its tracks in England, it has been fascinating watch how quickly solar can be deployed when it needs to be. (Britain's largest solar installation of 5MW was completed in just 6 weeks!)

More on Solar in the UK
UK Solar Prices Tumble, Installations Rise
Old Mine Becomes 1.4MW Solar Power Plant
Going Solar Revisited: Lessons from my Parents
Feed-in Tariffs Prompt Rush or Interest in Solar
Are Feed-in Tariffs a Rip Off?

Tags: Communities | Economics | Solar Power | United Kingdom

Best of TreeHugger