Co-operative’s solar powered estate a Hackney first

Solar panels in use. Photo: Wikimedia

Solar panels in use. Photo: Wikimedia

Hackney Council are pioneering green energy alternatives after the first solar powered estate in the borough was given the go ahead.

The landmark ruling earlier this month granted permission to the Banister House Solar Co-operative’s project to control and manage their energy usage using solar panels.

There are 15 young apprentices from the estate who are working alongside Repowering London and Hackney Energy, a not-for-profit organisation who specialise in community based energy programmes.

Millie Darling from Hackney Energy said: “We are planning to install 120kW of solar power on the Banister House roofs. This installation is being funded by the Hackney community, and the electricity the panels generate will go back to the community, and generate an income that will be put into a Community Benefit Fund to benefit local young people and tackle fuel poverty.”

Darling said that the electricity generated will save forty-one tonnes of carbon dioxide per year as compared to grid electricity, adding “We hope Banister House will be the first of many projects like this in Hackney.”

The ruling, which has enabled the group to have a twenty-year roof lease to fit PV solar panels, has also innovatively provided a new form of work experience for young people.

Councillor Feryal Demirci, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Sustainability, said: “I‘m delighted that the co-operative has been awarded the roof lease agreement. It means they will now be able to produce clean, renewable energy for the estate over the next 20 years.

“This is an incredible, forward-looking project that at once directly benefits estate residents, the wider community and the environment.”

The estate which comprises of 379 homes were surveyed earlier in the year by Hackney Energy which revealed that the majority of people wanted to see the installation of community owned solar panels and work experience opportunities for young people in the area.

The young apprentices have being talking about energy efficiency in the borough and wider city, on Monday they spoke in Parliament at the launch of the Energy Bill of Rights, about the benefits of solar power.

Alasdair Cameron, renewable energy and climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: “This is really great work by Banister House. Installing solar on just 5% of suitable rooftops would generate as much electricity as two nuclear power stations and bring jobs and investment into our towns and cities.”

“Solar power is effective and popular and we need to see much more of it in our communities, starting with allowing our schools to access finance to invest. If every one of our schools was able to go solar they could save over £200 million a year.”

Repowering London has successfully launched three similar projects in south London but this is the first scheme in Hackney.

For further information and to register your interest in the project, please visit the Hackney Energy website.

Leave a Reply