Whether it is one guy convincing 100 neighbors to go solar, or a cooperative of community-owned wind power, "power to the people" takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to distributed ownership of renewable energy. Now Rob Hopkins of Transition Culture reports that a group of residents in Lewes, England, are banding together to fund the installation of 544 solar panels on the roof of their local brewery to create a community-owned power station. They just have a race against the clock to beat Government u-turns on the solar subsidies that make it viable:
The 544 solar PV panels will generate 92 kilowatts peak, an estimated 98,000 kilowatt hours per year. If the installation is completed by August 1st this year, all the power generated will qualify for the top rate feed-in tariff 3 of 34p per kilowatt hour, ensuring returns to investors of 4% per annum over the 25 years of the scheme. Unfortunately two blows have recently fallen since the scheme was first planned: Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has decided to cut the tariff above 50 kilowatts to 19p as of August 1st, and George Osborne has decided to remove EIS tax relief from FIT businesses. [...] Despite these setbacks Ovesco will go all out to complete the installation by early July.