Non-profit IPS community energy company OVESCO has successfully completed the installation of the UK's first 100% community-funded solar power station. The Lewes Community Power Station was switched on today, Saturday 30th July, just hours before Government’s new; lower feed-in tariff rates take effect.
Ovesco successfully raised 100% of the £307,000 installation cost from local people and investors, providing it with the opportunity to install and grid connect the 544 solar PV panels on top of the warehouse roof of Harveys Brewery, which has created a commemorative beer, ‘Sunshine Ale’, to mark the occasion.
Southern Solar, co-founders of OVESCO, installed the 98kW system, which is estimated to generate in excess of 90,000kWh of solar electricity per year. Harveys will use the electricity to power the brewery while any surplus will be sold back to the National Grid.
“The launch of the local Lewes Community Power Station is a poignant moment for community energy generation in the UK and the result of many years of hard work. OVESCO has developed the only community initiative to go live in time for the changes in Government policy on solar. This is devastating and frustrating for nearly 1000 community projects across the UK. Solar in the UK has the potential to become a major source of power generation and is the most accessible technology for community-owned energy solution companies,” said Howard Johns, Chair of Solar Trade Association and MD of Southern Solar.