We have just heard news that our application for a £19,935 grant from UCEF (Urban Community Energy Fund) has been successful! (It's not all doom and gloom for community energy)
The grant is offered to us to contribute to our costs in exploring the feasibility of a community renewable energy generation project located at SOAS, University of London.
UCEF is a fund from DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) to kickstart community energy in urban environments in the UK, it is administered by CSE (Centre for Sustainable Energy) and Pure Leapfrog.
UniSolar is a newly formed social enterprise dedicated to bringing community energy projects to universities. While there are programs to bring community energy to many other types of locations such as schools (eg 10:10's Solar Schools) and communities (eg Transition Towns), universities are an untapped resource filled with the skills, energy and potential for very successful community energy projects. It's also a great way to engage young people and to raise awareness about the need for renewable energy.
UniSolar will use the £19,935 provided by UCEF to kickstart our inaugural project, Solar SOAS. We can now pay a solar installer to perform some detailed feasibility studies to find out what the solar capacity of the roofs are. We will also carry out planning permission due dilligence, as well as sub-contract project management support and legal support. These will help us develop robust financial models, determine suitable methods to crowd-fund and make sure we're covering all legal bases too. Once all this grant money has been usefully spent, we aim to be ready to invite investment into the project in order to finance the capital costs of buying and installing the solar panels at SOAS.
Not only will this significantly boost our ability to make Solar SOAS a reality - all this combined experience will equip UniSolar to help other university groups to establish their own community energy projects. Universities hold huge potential for clean energy, and UniSolar aims to be the organisation to help realise that potential.
We'd like to thank everybody for their support to get us this far - in particular DECC for the grant and for their generous letters of support to accompany our grant application: