Energise Barnsley

Energise Barnsley is the largest local authority and community energy solar PV and battery storage project in the UK.

400 t
Est. annual reduction in carbon
emissions (tonnes CO2 eq)

700
Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Energise Barnsley's story

The scheme, set up with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, includes six interconnected segments which aim to achieve low-carbon solutions owned by the community. These six project segments include: • solar photovoltaic (PV) • battery storage • demand-side response (DSR) • peer-to-peer (P2P) trading • asset management, and • community funding.

321 Barnsley council homes have been recipients of solar PV installations since the project started in late 2014. Of these installations, more than 75% of homes are bungalows inhabited by elderly individuals, with 25% of all residents on pre-payment meters. Sixteen non-domestic properties such as schools and community buildings are also taking part.

Households are equipped with solar electricity monitors to display when solar panels are generating electricity, and when the greatest savings can be made. Over £40,000 of savings were made on electricity bills within the project’s first year, with more than 800MWh of low-carbon electricity generated during this time. Our residents have now collectively saved over £110,000 in electricity bill savings since the solar panels were installed, and over 1,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been reduced.

Battery storage is another feature of Energise Barnsley, funded by Northern Powergrid. The battery storage, provided by Moixa, aims to give homeowners more control over their generated energy, and a way to make greater savings on electricity bills. Not only are battery installations beneficial to the consumer, but also to Northern Powergrid who can reduce the need for reinforcements to the electricity network for solar PV households with battery storage.

Across all our systems we have calculated that an estimated 800MWh’s of electricity is exported to the grid, only receiving a low tariff for the export, or none at all. We took the concept of a peer-to-peer trading system through the Ofgem Sandbox initiative. The results from the initiative are on our website, with current legislation preventing Energise Barnsley from executing a peer-to-peer platform for these purposes, unless partnered with a sole supplier. Energise Barnsley has subsequently fed into the Council’s proposal to become a ‘white label’ energy supplier.

Our third innovation project saw Energise Barnsley led a collaboration of academic and commercial partners, successfully applying to and delivering a feasibility report for the BEIS Competition for Domestic Demand Side Response. The purpose of the feasibility study was to show that we could shift air source heat pump demand, and shift ‘solar peaking’ as well, with a view to scaling operations nationally, to provide a domestic commercial demand side response model.

What have you learnt that others will find most useful?

  • Solar PV is the workhorse in our solar/battery storage model and, given the current cost price of residential batteries, it is the solar that is effectively subsidising some of the battery costs when installed together.
  • Battery storage increases self-consumption levels and those kilo watt hours which have been generated by the solar and not utilised in full by the home with the installation can be used by neighbours in our model.
  • We are operating blind, or taking a year to collect data for analysis, without smart meters. The speed of the smart meter rollout scheme, owned by the major utilities, is critical and obviously, the faster the better.
  • Our first set of solar installation tenants only have a ‘linear’ relationship with the technology – generally by seeing lower electricity bills per annum. We are creating a far more dynamic relationship with our newer low-carbon installations (solar PV and dual-purpose air source heat pumps) installed in our demand side response project homes – which gives residents far more control.

Measures of success?

Reduction in CO2 emissions, lower electricity bills, number of participating residential houses, effective management of 'solar peaking'.

Read more: http://www.energisebarnsley.co.uk/

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Energise Barnsley