Repowering

Our model provides more than low-carbon energy. We deliver a unique programme that incorporates social, financial and educational opportunities.

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

Our story

Energy is expensive, reliant on fossil fuels, and owned by a handful of big companies. By working with local authorities, schools and commercial partners, we empower some of London’s most deprived communities to take greater control of their energy generation and use.

Once up and running, our projects continuously generate both locally owned, clean energy and the social energy that allows communities to flourish. We create wide-ranging impacts by reducing carbon emissions and providing an ethical investment opportunity. On the ground, we also tackle fuel poverty through energy efficiency measures and improve the employment prospects of young people.

Our model provides more than low-carbon energy. We deliver a unique programme that incorporates social, financial and educational opportunities. Plus, our projects are fully democratic and are run by Community Benefit Societies, a type of co-operative.

Repowering’s work began in 2011 when we installed 132kWp of community-owned solar photovoltaic panels across two social housing estates in Brixton. These projects, Brixton Energy Solar 1 and 2, were the first of their kind in the UK and brought environmental, social and economic benefits to one of the nation’s most deprived communities. We continued our work in 2014 with the installation of a third project in the area, Brixton Energy Solar 3. Investors in the Brixton Energy Solar projects are now seeing a healthy return and income is flowing into the ring-fenced Community Fund. So far this money has been used to create educational grants for young people from the local estates on which these projects are located.

In 2015 we delivered our largest single project to-date on the Banister House Estate in Hackney. A 102kWp solar PV system was installed on the roofs of social housing and the estate’s community centre using £149,000 raised from 130 investors. During the course of the project, 14 young interns completed our 30-week paid internship programme.

We have also run community-solar projects in Vauxhall and North Kensington, and in 2015 we launched Energy Garden with the aim of greening London Overground stations. Along with Groundwork London, it won £750,000 from Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery to deliver community gardens and create a legacy fund for the gardens by owning and managing renewable energy assets.

More details on all of our projects are available on our website.

What have you learnt that others will find most useful?

  • Repowering started 6 years ago from the experience of helping build Brixton Energy Solar, the UK’s first Community Energy project on social housing. Our newest project Lambeth Community Solar, is a development of everything we’ve learnt in that time, but we’re also inspired by the projects of everyone else in the sector.
  • Community engagement is at the heart of our rooftop solar projects and we are constantly learning and figuring out new ways to engage with urban communities. The key for us is to take the time you need to better understand the communities you work with and build meaningful relationships.

Measures of success?

For each project we measure the estimate CO2 emissions saved, we measure the number of community members engaged, as well as tracking education and training outputs such as numbers of internships, numbers of work placements and number of training workshops. We also collate how much capital finance we have raised and how much has been raised to support communities.

Read more: https://www.repowering.org.uk/

Eva Goudouneix
Repowering