Welcome to REPOWERBalcombe:
A project that aims to generate the equivalent to 100% of Balcombe’s electricity demand through community-owned locally-generated renewable energy.
In 2015 REPOWERBalcombe installed 45kWp of solar photovoltaics (PV), at a local farm and two local schools. In 2016, thanks to a successful share offer that raised £110,000, we installed an additional 100kWp of solar PV at two other local schools.
In September 2015 we achieved planning permission to build a 4.8MW community-owned solar farm. This was a flagship opportunity to demonstrate what local communities can achieve, but just hours before signing the deal, we were forced to abandon our participation in the project, after the Treasury unexpectedly scrapped a tax break that community energy projects rely on to raise funds. However, the good news is that this project has gone ahead. The electricity that this solar farm generates exceeds our initial aim of matching the amount of electricity that Balcombe uses, even though it is not owned by REPOWERBalcombe.
For the moment, the policy changes enacted by the UK government have made life much more difficult for the UK community energy sector, and the wider renewable UK energy sector. There is little hope that we will be able to have a community-owned solar farm until political attitudes change.
Despite this, we will continue to generate renewable electricity, reduce the carbon footprint of local schools and businesses, and put money in to the community to support energy efficiency, education and renewable and sustainable energy projects. As batteries for electricity storage become more efficient and affordable, we would like to install them in the community.
Above all, we want our dream of community-owned solar energy to inspire people all over the world to move towards clean energy technologies, and away from climate-changing fossil fuels.