Glasgow Community Energy is a new community-owned renewable energy co-operative, developed over the last 6 years by local people and volunteers. Inspired by the successful Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative, Glasgow Community Energy is responding to Scotland's declaration of a climate emergency.
In 2020, we successfully installed solar panels on the roofs of two schools in Glasgow (Ashton Secondary School and Glendale Primary School / Bunsgoil Ghàidhlig Ghleann Dail). These two installations alone will save nearly 45 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – helping our city work towards its target to be carbon neutral by 2030. We plan to install solar panels on the roofs of another 7 large public/private buildings across the city and have just launched a 'Community Share Offer' so that people all over Glasgow can get involved.
We had an amazing response to our Community Share Offer from individuals and community organisations across the city and beyond and smashed our £30,000 target, receiving completed applications from 152 individuals and 26 community organisations.
Tackling the Climate Emergency:
Glasgow City Council voted to declare a climate emergency in May 2019, stating that: "Local communities should be able to invest in low carbon solutions through mechanisms such as co-operative business models. There is a good opportunity to develop partnerships which will enable residents to support renewable energy in the city and to get local benefit from these resources. We recommend that the Council's business support and planning services are made available to support community investment in renewable energy, including the Glasgow Community Energy Co-operative."
Once up and running, we aim to generate up to 79,000kWh/year of clean, green energy for Glasgow saving us 45 tonnes of carbon every year.
Re-investing in our communities:
Selling the electricity they produce will raise several thousand pounds each year, which can be reinvested into local community projects through our Community Benefit Fund.
But we have even bigger plans for the future – expanding to further sites across the city and exploring other renewable energy technologies over the coming years.
Financing community projects can seem daunting at first. Projects with several stages and different amounts of funding will require a significant amount of advance planning to make sure the project is feasible, but thankfully there are various different options to help aid this process and financially support local projects. We were partly funded by the Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) grant through the Green Economy Fund, a fund supported by Scottish Power to specifically work with smaller communities and provide access to funding for projects that may have struggled to finance otherwise.
Glasgow Community Energy is also working with Energy4All have helped to develop 27 community energy projects, with more in the pipeline. They create co-operatives by working with communities to develop renewable energy projects. Energy4All provide help and support all the way through the project by helping to apply for funding, finance modelling, hiring a project manager and issuing a share offer to raise the capital required for the project to be successful. Local people invest by buying shares and receive annual interest payments in return. This effectively means that the members, those who have invested, therefore own the project.
We also raised money using the Community Shares Offer. There are many amazing benefits for organisations to get involved in community energy projects that include becoming part of the local community, offsetting emissions to benefit society and standing out from the crowd!
Total savings in carbon emissions over the project lifetime.
Value and success of projects funded and groups supported.