Brighton Energy Co-op

BEC is a community energy co-op in Brighton that is bringing local people together to gain control of their energy supply and is supporting renewable energy education locally through their Community Fund.

3,262 t
Est. annual reduction in carbon
emissions (tonnes CO2 eq)

Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

Brighton Energy Coop (BEC) was inspired by a trip to the Paris Climate Change Conference COP21 back in 2015 by BEC Director, Will Cottrell. Brighton Energy Coop’s idea is simple: everyone puts in a bit of cash and collectively we build big solar energy systems. Money from selling solar electric gets distributed back to members, and to our Community Fund.

We have hundreds of members from in and out of the Brighton & Hove area – and together we’ve already built more than £3million of community-funded solar PV!

BEC’s Community Fund is something we’re proud of and is an important benefit from what we do. The Fund ensures local school children are engaged in renewables technology and carbon reduction. Since 2020, we’ve worked with national charity Energy Sparks to deliver key stage curriculum materials to the kids. We’ve offered a grant to each of our 13 Solar Schools, to help onboard teachers and school business managers to the platform.

We’ve also forged a new relationship between Brighton & Hove City Council’s Energy Team and Energy Sparks, so all Brighton & Hove schools can participate in our renewable energy education programme, whether they have a BEC solar system or not. And in the spirit of team work, we’ve held skills-share meetings with fellow community energy group, BHESCo, to ensure their solar schools could get on board.

Our advice

Here are some of BEC Will Cottrell’s ideas for marketing your own community energy project:

A lot of useful research is contained in this award-winning MSc dissertation done by a SPRU researcher from Sussex University, who shadowed BEC for a couple of years:

Our metrics

Amount of solar electric produced: 3325mWh
Number of educational facilities given free solar.
Number of local businesses given free solar.
Amount of £s saved by our solar partners.
Number of solar-connected EV chargers.
Number of educational facilities in BEC Solar Education Programme
Number of members investing in community-owned solar electric.
Interest payments received by our members.
Share this initiative
First community-owned solar connected EV charger in the South.
BEC works with colleges & universities creating large scale solar projects.
Schools & nurseries depend on BEC to reduce their energy bills.