Community solar project to take on local energy poverty this winter

28th September 2017

The National Energy Foundation and Citizens Advice Aylesbury Vale are delighted to announce the launch of a joint energy and fuel poverty advice scheme funded by the Gawcott Fields Community Solar Farm.

The new energy and fuel poverty advice scheme launches this September and will offer a range of services to the local community, including free impartial advice on cutting energy bills, finding a cheaper tariff and heating homes affordably and efficiently. In some circumstances the team can also offer home visits and grants and financial assistance for energy saving measures, such as insulation and boiler replacements.

 

Citizens Advice Aylesbury Vale and the National Energy Foundation’s Affordable Warmth Network team will be holding local events and advice workshops to help the community reduce their energy spend and to ensure homes are ready to keep them warm and well this winter. In addition, free training is now available for frontline health and social care staff, community organisations and other agencies who work with vulnerable members of the community to introduce the support that is available and how to make referrals.

 

Alex Steeland, Project Manager at NEF, commented:

“With winter approaching, this is the time of year when many start to worry about their energy bills and how they are going to stay warm and well over the coming months. Thanks to Gawcott Solar, this scheme will provide much needed help to alleviate fuel poverty in the area and to create modern energy homes.”

 

Citizens Advice Aylesbury Vale’s Chief Executive Officer, Rich Wiltshire, commented:

“Rising energy costs are having a big impact on the most vulnerable members of our community. It is important that people have access to the right advice about how to save money and how to avoid getting into debt. This project will allow us to do even more to help those who need it most, either at one of our local outreach events or through home visits.”

 

The 4 megawatt community solar farm on the outskirts of Buckingham has been generating electricity from the sun since last June.  Surplus income from the solar farm (expected to be around £20,000 per year) will be used to support community organisations and energy projects in the local area. As well as supporting the energy and fuel poverty advice service, a grant fund for local sports projects will be launched later this year.

 

A community bond offer, which completed earlier this year, enabled people to invest in community solar farm and raised over £400,000. The rest of the finance came from loans from Santander Bank and a social investment fund – Social and Sustainable Capital.

 

If you would like to find out more about the scheme or are interested in arranging a training session or hosting a community event, please contact awn@nef.org.uk or 0800 107 0044.

 

Look out for a local event near you and keep track of the project on the Gawcott Solar website: www.gawcottsolar.co.uk