When Wadebridge in Cornwall announced it wanted to be Britain's first solar-powered town, it caused quite a stir. Despite uncertainties and revisions to the government's feed-in tariff scheme, Wadebridge's efforts have continued—including the opening of the town's first solar farm at a local vacation rental resort.
Now Solarcentury presents the latest in its ongoing series on the town's efforts, as residents open up an "energy shop" in the high street to raise awareness of the initiative.
What's particularly impressive about Wadebridge's efforts is that they are looking well beyond solar when it comes to shifting the energy paradigm. Solar is the hook, and the beacon, that captures people's imaginations and gets them on board, but WREN (The Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network) seems at least as concerned about efficiency and conservation as it is getting more solar panels up on people's roofs.
And as founder Stephen Frankel explains, one of the other key things about WREN is that it is 100% committed to engaging the whole community—not just the small hand full of committed environmentalists who spend their days worrying about this stuff. And in so doing, they are creating a collective identity around clean energy in which the "alternative" energy models become the new normal.