Gardens & wildlife

Renewable Energy for Round Hill

“share” Thursday, 4th June 2015, 6pm – 9pm Brighthelm Centre, North Road, BN1 1YD
Special guest speaker – Howard Johns [Founder of Southern Solar and OVESCo]. BHESCo is hosting an event to give you more information about our Co-operative, what we have accomplished so far, the renewable energy and energy efficiency projects we are investing in, our innovative business model and most importantly – how you can participate.


Maude Casey lives in Round Hill and was involved in the Balcombe anti-fracking actions last year. She learnt that the village of Balcombe has made itself independent of the grid for electricity through investing in photovoltaics.

We in Round Hill could do the same, lots of potential roofs (Sainsburys, Veolia, Downs Schools, Centenary Industrial Estate, Mayo Court as well as private houses). A request for photovoltaics on the current proposal for Richmond House (or any future ones) was mentioned as a possible element of planning gain.

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Will Cottrell from Brighton Energy Co-op is willing to advise us. With the right structures in place he can negotiate with owners and we will have to find 10% of installation costs at some point, but should see costs more than met by income. 

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Recent extreme weather events here in England and globally had led Maude to thinking what could be done locally to address the challenge posed by climate change and the adverse effects of consumption of non-renewable forms of energy on the planet.

Here is a summary of the points which Maude made about making energy local on 6th May 2014 when invited to address The Round Hill Society’s committee meeting.

Energy Coops

Energy Coops are forming around the country by communities who wish to remove themselves from our devastating dependence upon fossil fuels, which is destroying the planet, causing global political instability and generating a seemingly permanent state of global war.

They are already up and running in many places, including Oxford, the Isle of Wight, Hackney; Balcombe; Eastbourne; Rye; Bath etc etc - there is a list of them here: http://www.brightonenergy.org.uk/what-we-do/other-renewable-energy-co-ops/

Here in Brighton we have Brighton Energy Coop. However, we could form a Roundhill Energy Co-op and get it up and running with the help of the expertise of Brighton Energy Coop.

The kind of steps needed:

1) Form a Coop - Roundhill Energy Coop

2) Make a link with Brighton Energy Coop (BEC)

3) BEC would then work with Roundhill in a scoping exercise: looking at roofs - eg the industrial estate; residential blocks; HMOs; grid capacity; work with Energy UK on existing cable capacities and so forth.

4) BEC would also scope the cost outlays and expected returns and create financial modelling to ensure installation could deliver the savings projected.

5) BEC would work on making leases with landlords: eg the Roundhill Coop would own the rights to six inches of space above the roof for 20 years, for access purposes. Brighton Energy Coop have expertise in negotiating the legal complexities of obtaining permissions from landlords and speeding up this process.

6) Once the leases have been made, there would then be a share launch and people would come on board to create the funds to install the panels. The shares can be bought by anybody but say 60% could be ring-fenced for Roundhill residents if people wanted that.

7) Brighton Energy Coop would identify the best product and installers for Roundhill's needs.

8) The instal would take place.

9) When everything is running to the satisfaction of Roundhill, BEC would charge a fee of between 5 and 10% of the cost per kilowatt install. They'd be flexible in their charges because their first priority would be that shareholders would get the proper returns on their shares. I will get back to you when I've checked how much this would have been on a 10kw instal like St George's (see below).

10) In the future the Roundhill Coop also could sell energy to Roundhill residents according to new legislation.

Maude does not claim the idea as her own, but has seen it put into practice and feels that more people in Round Hill might like to think about (and ideally follow up) the opportunity of a greener future.

BEC doesn't have to be involved - a possible future Roundhill Coop could do all the work themselves. However it might seem sensible to call upon their existing, and hard-won, knowledge and expertise.

Doing your own research:

There's masses of information on the Repower Balcombe website and also on BEC's website.

Click on either of the pictures of St George's Church in Kemp Town (below) to go to Brighton Energy Coop's website:

energy coop

energy coop

This page was last updated by Ted on 19-May-2015
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