Green Fox Community Co-operative wish to develop a model for a school focused locally-owned energy service company. Building on their experience of supplying heat and electricity to Hinckley Academy in Leicestershire, the model aims to supply clean locally generated heat and electricity and energy services to schools through a range of low carbon technologies in a better integrated and more cost-effective way. Green Fox have partnered with the Attenborough Learning Trust (a multi academy trust of four primary and infant schools) to develop the model that they hope will eventually be scaled-out with across Leicestershire and beyond. Download the case study here.
In Bristol, Low Carbon Gordano are working in partnership with Lockleze Neighbourhood Trust to develop a model for distributed solar and local trading in an urban context. Through their project, Lockleaze Loves Solar, they're seeking to develop a model that enables the local community to own and operate a 1 megawatt cluster of solar panels on 300 roofs in the city. The power generated will supply locally generated and affordable energy to 300 households. As well as bringing immediate financial savings to those struggling with their energy bills, the highly replicable model will help to create community assets, raise aspirations and provide a platform for local resident to create climate resilience and develop local enterprise. Download the case study here.
Nadder Community Energy, based in Wiltshire, would like to develop an energy business model that will improve the lives of local residents facing isolation and create returns for investors, while pioneering an approach that will drive adoption of sustainable transport in rural areas. Working closely with a local community transport organisation, the group are at an early stage of exploring possibilities for an electric community transport business model based on a membership scheme and the use of locally generated solar for charging. Download the case study here.
Brighton Energy also believe there is an opportunity for the hundreds of community energy groups across the country to contribute to local transport electrification. The group are looking to work with sites where they currently own solar PV assets and look into the opportunities to add electric car charging points. They hope to test the profitably of an integrated package of solar PV, EV charging and battery technology for community energy groups. In a congested city they hope their model will reduce air pollution and noise and bring social benefits such as bringing EV drivers to community centre chargers, providing free charging to disadvantaged citizens and creating a community fund for local residents. Download the case study here.
Many small community buildings are not benefiting from reduced energy consumption by changing to LED lighting, so Chester Community Energy wish to trial a business model that finances the upfront costs of smart-lighting installations and enables community groups to repay the investment through the savings on their electricity bills. Chester Community Energy believe that energy saving in the order of 100MWh could be achieved in 2 to 3 years while at the same time reducing the running costs and improving the quality of lighting. The users of the buildings - typically mother and baby groups, keep fit and wellbeing, hobby and recreation, self-help and support, the elderly, and a host of others - will benefit from a small but noticeable improvement in the environment of the building.
Download the case study here.
The Next Generation Innovation Fund is working with 11 organisations to develop and test new business models on behalf of the community energy sector. Each project is 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 are currently being 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.
To be eligible for support through the Next Generation programme each of the projects must continue to demonstrate how they are guided by 4 principles:
Innovation: Each project is exploring a new direction in which the community sector could evolve in a post-subsidy landscape.
Business models: The funding provided is to test ideas which are not yet proven to work and get them off the ground, however the resulting projects aim to be self-sustaining business models which are not dependent on grants.
Community Impact: The projects encapsulate the Power to Change vision of creating better places through community business by benefiting and engaging local people.
Replication: business models and the associated learnings must be captured and disseminated for advancement of the community energy sector as a whole.
The Next Generation Innovation Groups
In partnership with Igloo regeneration, Burnside Community Energy aim to develop a business case to supply community-owned renewable energy for a new housing development in Burneside, Cumbria for the benefit of the whole village. Up to 180 new homes are due to be built in the centre of the village. This project aims to supply electricity and heat to the new homes using a combination of local generation and supply/demand balancing. The homes will be all electric (despite a gas supply in the village) using ground/water source heat pumps with inter-seasonal storage feeding a heat network, a solar PV network, electricity storage and EV charging points.
Carbon Co-op will 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. This unique business model builds on Carbon Co-op’s established software development and engineering expertise in the field of energy, data and ICT householder services, including their smart meter integration service, home energy assessment and domestic flexible asset management.
CREW Energy aims to use community ownership of renewable heat to tackle three issues in society: climate change, fuel poverty and air quality. They aim to achieve their goals through education, outreach, community funding, delivery and maintenance of heat networks and renewable heating systems.
Gloucestershire Community Energy Cooperative wishes to develop a business model based on distributed systems of PV and battery installations over 400 dwellings, combined with participation in the market for grid balancing services. Working in partnership with Stroud District Council, the installs would take place across the council’s sheltered housing estate, and the battery capacity would join Ecotricity’s Virtual Power Plant to provide a grid balancing service to the national grid. With the economy of scale from this roll-out, the technology will be offered to the wider community in the area. The model would provide an exemplar for how community energy groups can partner with local councils and electricity companies to deliver innovative, investable and sustainable projects with significant beneficial social impacts, including reduced electricity costs and wider understanding of smart low carbon projects.
Plymouth Energy Community and South Dartmoor Community Energy are each working to deliver community led, net zero carbon affordable housing. Community Energy Plus are also working with Cornwall based Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to improve energy performance of these developments. Together, this partnership wants to incorporate stacked energy service business models that deliver electricity, heat and mobility into housing development. This will unlock a new energy asset business model for Community Energy to collaborate with CLTs as well as building exemplar projects for the future of housing.
Bath & West Community Energy are working with Stemy Energy on a community centred approach to building a network of small consumers, able to offer flexibility services to their local DNO. The trial will help promote the electrification of small consumers, employing a diverse range of assets including solar PV, water heaters, heat pumps and EV charging. Flex Community will also seek to align the electrification of heat and transport with distributed generation within the same low voltage networks and underpinned by Peer to Peer trading as a way of easing grid connection and improving the financial viability of subsidy free renewables. The trial is based around Stemy Energy’s cloud-based platform and smartphone app, which has already been successfully tested in real conditions in different markets in Spain but requires adaptation and improvements for the UK market.
These projects are being showcased in our monthly ‘Innovation Lab’ webinar series alongside other innovative community energy business models. Recordings of previous webinars can be found on our Learning Page.
For more specific enquires the Next Generation team can be contacted at email@example.com.