Barnsley launches new community solar scheme

A new solar panel installation scheme – Energise Barnsley – is being launched today (27 August).

The scheme, which will see solar panels installed onto approximately 5,000 council houses and council-owned buildings, is part of an new community energy partnership between Barnsley Council, Berneslai Homes, British Gas Solar and Generation Community. 

The initiative will see the council work with social enterprises and a blue chip installer to feed the surplus income generated by the scheme back into Barnsley communities.

The capital costs of the project are likely to exceed £10 million, to be made by project partners. Barnsley Council will make no capital investment. 

Residents and the wider community will be able to invest in Energise Barnsley, through a community share offer, which is likely to give an annual return of 5%.

Energise Barnsley will finance the installation and maintenance of the solar panels. Ignite, a social investment fund, has committed £2 million to Energise Barnsley in support of the community share offer.

“It’s great news that we are leading the way for community energy schemes with the £10 million development of Energise Barnsley. It’s a positive step forwards in terms of reducing carbon consumption at the same time as helping some residents to save money on their energy bills and supporting community projects,” said Cabinet Spokesperson for Communities, Cllr Jenny Platts.

James Mansfield, Director for Generation Community, said ‘We are very pleased with the speed and enthusiasm, with which Barnsley Council has adopted the community energy model to deliver solar PV across their rooftops. The project will bring multiple benefits to the local community.”

Find out more about the scheme by visiting www.barnsley.gov.uk/energisebarnsley

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues