A Welsh solar partnership project is celebrating after being shortlisted for a prestigious UK Solar Award.
Egni Co-op partnership has been shortlisted in the Local/Community Energy category in the Solar and Storage Live Awards 2020.
The partnership has worked in partnership with Newport City Council, Newport Live, the Welsh Government Energy Service and Sustainable Communities Wales to install over 2MW of rooftop solar in Newport in 2020.
All schools who take part in the programme receive £500 of free co-op shares in the co-op and Egni is developing an educational programme on climate change action and co-op entrepreneurship.
Rosie Gilliam, co-director of Egni Co-op said:
“Newport City Council were the first local authority to ask us to install solar on their sites and this really helped us go on to install panels with Pembrokeshire and Swansea councils. We also had great support from our installers in Newport, Joju Solar Ltd and Ice Solar Ltd.”
Ms Gilliam said the co-op has installed panels on 27 buildings in Newport.
“Our partners above, and also the schools, staff and pupils were a key part in helping to make this project happen,” she continued.
“Newport’s support has enabled us to expand and we’ve now installed nearly 4MWp on community buildings, schools and businesses throughout Wales. The solar panels save £92k/year in electricity costs for our sites and reduce carbon emissions in Wales by about 1,000t/year.”
Cllr Deb Davies, cabinet member for sustainable development at Newport City Council, said:
“Our ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 is a key tenet of our pledge to build a better Newport, and the renewable energy that all these sites will produce is a positive step towards meeting that ambition.”
As of the end of October, Newport’s solar sites have generated more than a 1GWh of renewable electricity – enough to supply 340 homes for a year, Cllr Davies added.
Jim Cardy, Senior Manager for Welsh Government Energy Service, said:
“This project is a fantastic example of a social enterprise working closely with a local authority partner in Wales to tackle the climate emergency.”
“Watching drone footage of the National Velodrome’s rooftop solar being installed is breathtaking,” Owen Callender, from the Sustainable Communities Wales programme said.
“Our work supporting Welsh community organisations suggests a strong appetite for sustainable change, and it is encouraging to see Newport City Council working with Egni Co-op to lead by example and prove that the future is already possible.”
Egni has now raised over £2m from a community share offer from over 1,000 people and organisations, also securing a £2.12m loan from the Development Bank of Wales to fund the installs which are ongoing. This is the biggest rollout of rooftop solar in Welsh history.