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Hackney Looks Forward to Community Solar Benefits

15 Jul 09:00 by Steve Walia

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The London borough of Hackney has previously produced less green power than some of the other London boroughs, but plans are in development to stimulate change. Part of the problem has been the large proportion of renters rather than home-owners and a preference for flats - but there is still vast scope for solar power in the city, with just 1 in 200 homes currently utilising solar PV, representing just 0.13pc of the capital's total energy needs. 

After the government confirmed it was slashing the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), homeowners and investors have felt understandably less inclined to invest in solar PV, even though the technology holds vast potential for cutting carbon emissions and household utility bills.

Sadiq Kahn, the new London Mayor, has just confirmed that a new 'Energy for Londoners' company will be created to offer residents a better array of renewable technology access, suppliers, tariffs and other means of hastening the adoption of clean energy. 

Community groups will also be engaged to provide powerful social infrastructure to help solar projects to progress. Hackney has plenty of solar-suitable rooftops and needs that community support to make use of them, following models such as the solar power co-op at Homerton's Banister House Estate. This scheme was financed by a private share offer that gave individual investors the chance to purchase shares of £50 to £40,000 for a 4pc return.

Hackney Energy is also looking at solar bond schemes - comparable to those seen in Swindon recently, which managed to raise an impressive £1.8 million for a community solar project - and the local council is being called upon to offer greater support and guidance for local residents keen to invest in sustainable clean technologies in their community.