Green Fox Community Co-operative - Zero carbon schools

Green Fox Community Co-operative in Leicestershire worked with the Attenborough Learning Trust (four primary and infant schools) to develop a model for a school-focused locally owned energy service company. The model they developed through the Next Generation programme outlines a innovative approach for community groups and schools to work together to create zero carbon schools. 

Download the full report.
Download the case study.

Watch the Innovation Lab webinar

Lockleaze Loves Solar - Rooftop domestic solar

In Bristol, Low Carbon Gordano created a partnership with Lockleze Neighbourhood Trust to develop a model for distributed solar and local trading in an urban context. The project trialled two different methods for bringing affordable domestic solar to residents in Lockleaze. Unfortunately both business models were met with several challenges that affected the financial viability and it was decided to bring the project to a close in Summer 2021. It's hoped that changes to policy and installation cost of solar panels will mean the business model may become viable in the future. The lessons learnt through developing both of the approaches have been captured in the resources below and we believe they will be extremely valuable to community energy organisations developing similar business models in the future.  

Download reports: 'The Story So Far' (Oct 2020) 'Learning Report' (Jun 2021) 

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Watch the Innovation Lab webinar

Nadder Community Energy - Electric car club

 

Nadder Community Energy, based in Wiltshire, set out to create a business that would tackle the dual problems of climate change and the lack of public transport in rural areas which can lead to isolation. With the support of Next Generation, they set up Tisbury Electric Car Club, installing two electric car charging points and purchasing two electric vehicles which can be hired by members through an app. They are now focusing on working with other community based organisations to develop a network of community owned electric car clubs across the UK.  

Download the case study here

Watch the Innovation Lab webinar

Brighton Energy - Solar charging for electric vehicles

Brighton Energy see an opportunity for hundreds of community energy groups to contribute to local transport electrification through adding electric car charging points at sites of community owned solar PV. To test this, they've connected ten charging points to buildings hosting solar pv arrays that they own, and are monitoring use of each one to gain insight into the revenue that this generates. They hope to create a model that can be replicated by others to improve air quality, reduce noise, and allow community energy groups to participate in the transition to electric vehicles. 

Download the final report.

Download the case study

Watch the Innovation Lab webinar    

Chester Community Energy - LED lighting in community buildings

Chester Community Energy recognised that many small community buildings are missing out on the reduced energy consumption that LED lighting offers through being unable to raise the upfront costs. So, through Next Generation they trialled a business model that finances smart-lighting and enables community groups to repay the investment through the savings on their electricity bills. In delivery of this project, they faced challenges with becoming a loan provider and gaining FCA approval for their project. However they have gained the skills needed to install LED lighting, provided installations for buildings that were able to raise the upfront costs and have developed a business model for providing finance if FCA approval is granted. 

Download the final report. 
Download the case study

Bath & West Community Energy- Flex community

Bath & West Community Energy's Flex Community project was designed to test and pilot a domestic flexibility platform developed by Stemy Energy. BWCE developed a portal which enabled potential customers to find installers of low carbon technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicle car chargers. The Stemy platform can provide automatic control of these low carbon technologies, as well as hot water controllers, in order to trial domestic flexibility, within householder-defined comfort constraints. The project faced challenges caused by Covid-19 and Brexit leading to a lower number of installations than hoped. However, with the households involved they are able to trial the Stemy platform and gather data on the viability of aggregating domestic flexibility as a future business model for community energy organisations. 

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​Download the case study.

Watch the Innovation Lab webinar. 

Carbon Co-op- Data cooperative

Carbon Co-op set out to establish a trusted Community Energy Data Co-operative for their members in Greater Manchester, creating a new, replicable business model based on member consent and featuring services enabled by the analysis and processing of large amounts of members’ home energy and behavioural data. Throughout Next Generation Carbon Coop have focused on developing a smart meter service, impact tracker and building energy performance service. In August 2021 the 'Powershaper' service was launched for with over 100 members trialling the service. Carbon Coop are now focusing on further scaling up the service and replication by other community energy organisations.   

Download the case study here

Watch the Innovation Lab webinar

CREW Energy - Low carbon heating

CREW Energy aims to use community ownership of renewable heat to tackle three issues in society: climate change, fuel poverty and air quality. They have engaged with civic centres, schools and homeowners in London to develop a heat pump business that is able to quickly adapt to new opportunities as they arise. During the Next Generation programme they have: raised community shares and installed a community owned heat pump at the Devas Club; supported schools to apply for government funding for heat pump installations; and developed a domestic heat pump assessment and installation business. With several more civic buildings and domestic customers lined up, CREW are also supporting the installation of heat pumps in other areas of London. 

​Download the case study

Watch the Innovation Lab webinar

Plymouth Energy Community- New housing energy services company

Plymouth Energy Community aimed to deliver community led, net zero carbon affordable housing both at their own PEC homes sites and working with Launceston community housing. Together, this partnership aims to incorporate stacked energy service business models that deliver electricity, heat and mobility into housing development. Despite delays caused by Covid 19, support from Next Generation has enabled both sites to progress with their plans to produce affordable net zero housing by funding detailed design work and energy modelling. PEC will continue to develop this project beyond the end of the Next Generation programme.  

Download the full report. 

​Download the case study.

Watch the Innovation Lab webinar.

Burneside Energy Community- New housing energy services

Burneside Community Energy aimed to develop a business case to supply community-owned renewable energy to a new 180-home housing development in Burneside, Cumbria. Working in partnership with a private developer, Igloo regeneration, BCE began investigating the mix of technologies that would need to work together in order to deliver electricity and heating to the homes using a combination of local generation and supply/demand balancing. Unfortunately, due to the impact of Covid-19, the developers were unable to progress with the housing development and the Burneside project came to and end. However, they have captured valuable lessons learnt in the attached resources. ​

Download the case study.

Download the full report

Gloucestershire Community Energy Cooperative- Decarbonising local authority housing

Gloucestershire Community Energy Cooperative set out to work in partnership with Stroud District Council to develop a business model which would install a combination of solar PV, heat pumps and batteries across the council's sheltered housing estate. It was hoped that the battery capacity will join Ecotricity’s Virtual Power Plant to provide a grid balancing service, but due to Covid-19, the project was unable to progress. It is hoped that learnings captured throughout the project (see below) will help other community energy groups deliver similar projects in the future. 

Download the full report.

Download the case study.

Innovation

The Next Generation Innovation Fund supported 11 organisations to develop and test new business models on behalf of the community energy sector. Each project was provided with up to £100,000 of grant funding and the support of our consortium to develop their project ideas, test the real world application of their business models and share this learning to benefit the wider sector. 


A variety of business models were tested across England through the Innovation Fund, these include electric car clubs, heat pump trials, domestic flexibility services and setting up energy service companies for schools and new housing developments.

 

Organisations supported by the Next Generation programme were required to demonstrate how the project they proposed would be guided by the following 4 principles:

  • Innovation: Exploring a new direction in which the community sector could evolve in a post-subsidy landscape.

  • Business models: Testing ideas which are not yet proven to work and get them off the ground, with the resulting projects aiming to be self-sustaining business models which are not dependent on grants.

  • Community Impact: Encapsulate the Power to Change vision of creating better places through community business by benefiting and engaging local people.

  • Replication: Capture and disseminate the business models developed through the programme and the associated learnings for advancement of the community energy sector as a whole.

The Next Generation Innovation Groups 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Further Information

To stay up to date with the work of CSE, please sign up to our e-news here: www.cse.org.uk/contact/enews-sign-up

For specific enquires regarding Next Generation, the team can be contacted at communities@cse.org.uk