There's long been a question mark over whether or not shale gas fracking can succeed in the UK. From relatively high population desity through differing geology to a lack of mineral rights for individual landowners, there are plenty of reasons to believe a "dash for gas" may be both short-lived and unpopular compared to the growth of fracking in the US.
In the small English village of Balcombe, West Sussex, an exploratory drilling site became the focus of heated protests last year. And while the protests have subsided, for now, some Balcombe residents are busy developing a community-led approach to energy security: Balcombe is planning to go solar in a very big way.
As reported over at The Guardian, residents are coming together under the banner of REPOWER Balcombe to finance and build community-owned solar power plants, with an eventual goal of becoming completely self-sufficient in energy:
Our goal is to set up a program of renewable energy solutions based in and around the community. The aim is to generate the equivalent of 10% of Balcombe’s electricity usage through rooftop solar panels within the next 6 months, and eventually to generate the equivalent of 100% of the village’s electricity usage from clean, renewable energy sources.
This Spring the group is aiming to raise £300,000 (approximately US$500,000) to install around 224kw of PV. The money will be raised through a community share issue, with shares opening initially to residents of West Sussex only in an effort to retain local ownership.