Since January 2016 when dramatic cuts to renewable energy subsidies, knows as FiTs (Feed-in Tariff), were enacted the UK solar industry has been hard hit. Multiple solar installation companies have gone into administration as demand has reduced. The tariff cut has meant that the high up-front costs of installing solar are no longer easily off-set by selling electricity back into the grid over the life of the panels.
The Guardian has covered the decimation of the industry in this recent article.
What this means for CREW and other community energy groups like us, is that solar projects have become far less financially viable, especially in a city like London, where land availability and air pollution already reduced the generative capacity of solar panels compared to rural projects.
CREW is no longer able to offer solar projects in the same guise, as the guaranteed opportunity to earn back enough money from the panels to pay interest back to banks, community shareholders is no longer assured.
Luckily this doesn’t stop us from doing solar projects. However, we are adapting our business models and financing approaches to ensure we can launch financially viable and environmentally effective projects, ensuring that all community shareholders are paid a fair rate of return on investment.
This week Tim, Toby and James met with the team at Battersea Arts Centre to discuss partnership opportunities to further improve the environmental performance of one of the borough’s most iconic buildings.
Battersea Arts Centre puts on over 650 performances a year across a range of performing arts, and is a key Battersea community hub inspiring more than 5000 young people a year to explore their creative side.
Originally built in 1893 as Battersea Town Hall, the BAC team have just completed the first phase of a major refurbishment installing multiple energy efficiency measures such as cavity-wall insulation and LED lights. We are now discussing how CREW can help supply the technical expertise and funding capability to match BAC’s ambition to be a shining example of environmentally friendly practice in Wandsworth.
Watch this space for more updates as discussions progress.