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Banister House Solar Co-op in Hackney

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At the beginning of the year, we let you know that Hackney Energy, a community energy group, had been set up in Hackney with the aim of creating renewable energy low carbon projects in the area that will benefit local residents.

We’re very pleased to report that Hackney Energy’s very first solar energy co-operative, in partnership with Repowering London and residents from Banister House Estate is now well underway in Homerton. 

Seed funding to support the set up of Banister House Solar Co-op was provided by Hackney Council. Eleven young people from the estate have taken up internships to not only learn about the financial, technical, legal and structural elements of a renewable energy co-operative, but gain training in energy efficiency and receive vocational work experience installing the solar panels with the contractors.

Last month Demand Energy Equality ran a workshop at Banister House Community Centre where the interns and members of Banister House Solar Co-operative had the opportunity to build and test their own solar panels from solar cells and reclaimed double glazed windows.  

When completed, Banister House Estate will generate more than 100,000 kWh of renewable energy a year from 480 community owned solar panels, saving an estimated forty-one tonnes of CO2 per year. All residents of Banister House Estate have the opportunity to buy shares for a minimum of £50, while other Hackney residents interested in supporting solar energy will be able to buy shares for a minimum of £250. All shareholders that make up the membership of the co-operative will have a say in how it is run, as well as receiving interest payments on their investment of approximately 4% a year.

There are a growing number of community energy groups throughout the UK, so if you're interested in setting one up in your own area, then you might be interested in Energy Mentoring, a new initiative that has been established to offer advice, guidance and support for anyone in the early stages of setting up a community energy project or considering it.  

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