Race against time to get solar on brewery roof
Community group Ovesco are in a race against time to raise funds to install a solar PV system on their local brewery, Harveys, before the FITs deadline is introduced on 1st August.
Ovesco, based in Lewes, is the only community group to have secured planning permission for a solar roof in the UK.
Now, in an attempt to raise the funds needed they are organising a share issue today April 19.
The group plans to raise 100% of the £307,000 installation cost from local investment.
If the installation is completed before the August deadline, it will qualify for the feed-in tariff rate of 34p per kilowatt hour.
This would provide investors with a return of 3-4% per annum over 25 years.
If the community group fails to raise the money in time, they will split the project into two or three smaller systems which will still qualify for the feed-in tariff but with a smaller rate of return.
The planned installation will use 544 solar PV panels to generate an estimated 92,000 KWH per year.
The brewery will use the electricity to power the brewery and surplus energy will be sold back to the grid.
Ovesco hopes that the self-financing model will be used by other communities in the UK to generate their own clean energy.
The group plans to make Lewes District self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2030. Lewes Football Club has also expressed an interest in hosting solar panels.
Ovesco is a non-profit IPS set up by Lewes residents. The company has been managing Lewes District Council's grant scheme for domestic renewable installations for the past three years.
An event to launch their Share Offer is taking place tonight in the local town hall at 7pm. An Energy Question Time will be hosted by shadow energy minister Huw Irranca Davies to explain the benefits and risks of investing in the scheme.
You can read more about the share offer at Ovesco's site. Alison Brown