Working with local authorities

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UK

Energy Alton have worked in partnership with local authorities to deliver an insulation scheme and a community renewable energy initiative. In 2012 volunteers from Energy Alton, along with staff from the Insulate Hampshire team, a local government team with the same aims, combined to distribute over 4,500 rolls of loft insulation to more than 500 homeowners in the Alton area (population circa 16,000), saving over £27,000 in the first 12 months.  Energy Alton also negotiated with Amery Hill School to use their car park to receive the deliveries of insulation. The reward for the community for their collective effort was the offer of a 10kW solar PV installation on a community building in the area. They decided to install solar PV on the local library, requiring a Memorandum of Agreement between Energy Alton and Hampshire County Council. This was the first in Hampshire and probably unique in the UK for the agreement to share the Feed-In Tariff between a local authority and a community group. Feed-In Tariff payments of just over £1,300 per year will be shared equally between Energy Alton and Hampshire County Council to save on the annual library energy bill, and to support the projects and energy advice services offered by Energy Alton to the local community. They identify three factors that were key for making collaboration on the solar PV project work:

  • Doing their homework – nobody at the County Council knew about roof agreements – Energy Alton researched it first and had draft documents ready to discuss;
  • High level support – they lobbied the Chairman of the Council and the Executive Team, who then opened the doors for officers to sit down and talk to them;
  • Persistence – the project was low on the list of priorities (understandably) for people in the Council but Energy Alton kept plugging away. They had to change direction substantially mid-project but the end result was the same.