The BRE National Solar Centre has partnered with energyshare to help community energy groups realise solar projects.

Community groups applying for grant funding from energyfund Cornwall can now receive up to three days technical expertise from the National Solar Centre. The centre hopes to advise community projects on the suitability of proposed sites for solar projects.

Jonny Williams, associate director of the BRE National Solar Centre explained what the centre will offer, he said: “We can provide advice and guidance on project feasibility, solar design, provide technical specifications, planning and grid applications, integration with other renewable energy and efficiency measures, and assess existing projects. So far the projects we’ve seen have been really exciting.”

“By supporting this project, BRE is offering an extremely valuable service to communities across Cornwall hoping to benefit from solar energy generation,” added Abbie Brook, programme manager at energyshare. “Many of the groups applying to energyfund Cornwall are made up of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers working to help their communities by reducing energy bills in facilities such as village halls and sports clubs. This support will help ensure they are getting valuable expert advice at no cost and will give their solar projects a real kick start.”

The groups hope that the new partnership will allow community energy projects in Cornwall to realise potential projects much faster. This year the government published its long-awaited Community Energy Strategy which is aiming to significantly increase the number of community energy projects in the UK.

As part of the strategy, DECC has stated that commercial developers should offer some form of public ownership for solar farms by 2015. In addition, DECC suggested that it could introduce a new feed-in tariff band for community energy, however the government has warned that it could face challenges implementing this