£100,000 has been raised by community-owned solar projects from surplus generation, which will now be given to Corona Crisis Funds.
The Community for Renewables’ (CfR) collective of four community energy enterprises has mobilised the funds to support community-organised aid networks.
Ferry Farm Community Solar has allocated £40,000, with the first tranche of recipients including Chichester Food Bank (£10,000), the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Network for Selsey and Sidlesham (£6,000) and Academy Selsey, for an online library subscription that enables students to access contemporary reading materials from home (£1,500).
£1,000 of the funding is going to the Aid Network to contribute to running costs, and the remaining £5,000 is earmarked as an initial contribution to a crisis fund for families facing financial difficulty. This funding will be provided directly to families in need to cover short-term crisis cash needs.
Burnham and Western Energy CIC has also set aside £40,000 for the Corona Crisis Fund and is liasing with local community networks and Somerset Community Foundation on where this money will be most useful.
Gawcott Solar CIC is providing £14,000, with two donations of £2,500 and £747 going to Buckingham Food Bank and YC2 Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers respectively.
Buckingham Food Bank's Keith Croxon praised the "amazing donation", the funds will help to provide the elderly and vulnerable with food parcels.
Lastly, Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy is allocating some of its community funds to support local food banks.
Jake Burnyeat, director of CfR, said the funds show the “real value” of community energy enterprises.
“Hopefully next year, they will return to their longer-term purpose of supporting their communities’ net zero transition and tackling fuel poverty, but at present there is no greater need and no better way for the surplus funds to help people in their locality,” Burnyeat continued.
Last week it was also announced that community energy projects would be recieving an extension to complete and register feed-in tariff (FiT) projects due to ongoing challenges caused by COVID-19. Up to 250 projects are facing delays, leading to the extension to 30 September 2020.