Our original mission was simple: to generate the equivalent of 100% of Balcombe’s electricity demand through community-owned locally-generated renewable energy. With the obtaining of planning permission for the solar array at Chiddinglye Farm, we achieved this total generation, but unfortunately we did not own the project. So not ‘community-owned’.
However, we have continued to install solar PV on new sites, and are always on the lookout for new potential projects.
Currently we have funded 6 solar projects on schools, including arguable the UK’s schools first solar /battery combination at Turners Hill Primary School.
In addition, through our Community Benefit Fund, we have supplied energy-saving equipment (LED lights, for instance) to community buildings and local schools. We have installed batteries in a local school (to store the electricity from the solar PV we installed on their roof). We have provided a local community with a Community Fridge, to reduce food waste.
We initiated the idea of supplying electric power to the railway system from a solar array. This has now been developed into the ‘Riding Sunbeams’ project, a partnership between Possible (formerly 10:10 Climate Action) and Community Energy South. One of our directors provided legal support relating to the installation of the first solar traction pilot project at Aldershot Railway station
We continue to ensure the financial benefits of supplying clean energy are primarily shared with the community.
We take responsibility for meeting our own energy needs in a way that does not contribute to climate change or harm the prospects of future generations.
We are sensitive to local landscapes and environments; and to develop responsibly by targeting roof space first, and by adhering to the industry best practice.
We inspire other communities by demonstrating and promoting the benefits of community renewable energy as a positive, viable alternative to the current energy production model.
Our efforts has attracted media attention including features on TV and The Times.
We attempt to unite the local community in support of these goals.
Repower Balcombe has had many positive responses from landowners in the surrounding area and key local community buildings whose support will be vital to this project fulfilling its aim, and who stand to gain from significantly lower electricity bills.
The energy harvested by REPOWERBalcombe will be fed into the national grid, making our village proportionately self-sufficient whilst helping to increase the overall amount of renewable energy in our national electricity supply mix.
As we develop new projects, we shall need funds to make them happen. Our new share offers are open to all, for instance with the 2020 share offer we targeted new members first, to make the co-op more sustainable. We will target new members in future, as well as informing existing membership. One of our targets for the future is to encourage new members as well as nurture the ongoing support of existing members. We are open to members from anywhere! We hope you will want to become a shareholder and member of the co-operative. Developing and owning our own energy generating capacity wheresoever located, we will also be helping to power the local economy in Balcombe or wherever our projects are located.
REPOWERBalcombe was born of the inspiring belief that communities can take responsibility for their own energy supply and that this can be done in a way that is clean and sympathetic to the environment. In September 2013 an open meeting was held at local Bramble Hall with a view to set up a community renewable energy project in Balcombe. Inspired by the positivity of the project, a group of around 14 locals started to lay foundations toward making this a reality.
It won’t only be the host buildings and shareholders who benefit. As we have detailed above, a portion of the profits from REPOWERBalcombe will be fed back into a community benefit fund which will be used to reduce our collective energy spend, to improve our local environment, and to develop other local renewable energy resources.
This is about our community and how we can live comfortably yet responsibly. REPOWERBalcombe demonstrates what is possible when a community comes together. This is the start of a repowering of the present for the future.
REPOWERBalcombe hope you will be part of it!