The Banister House Solar project is finally becoming a reality! All the hard work put in by the Banister House team including local residents, the society directors, young interns and Hackney Council over the last year has paid off and the solar panels are now sitting neatly on 14 roofs across the estate, awaiting final wiring connections and commissioning.
Repowering’s projects are about creating local energy in both its forms: locally generated renewable electrical energy and the social energy that brings people together and creates opportunities for communities to flourish. Our focus is on delivering renewable energy projects that are owned and run by local people, for the benefit of the communities that surround them. Over the course of the Banister House project, Repowering has mentored 11 local adults through the financial, IT, technical and legal elements of establishing a co-operative organisation and running a successful community energy project.
The solar installation has been delivered using £142,500 raised through a community share offer with many local residents choosing to invest in the knowledge that they will not only receive a reliable annual return but also own a stake in their community’s energy future. Once commissioned, the solar panels on the roof of the Banister House estate will begin to generate income from the government’s Feed-in Tariff, a portion of which will contribute to a Community Fund totalling £28,000 over the life of the project. This fund will be used to tackle fuel poverty in a deprived area of London.
This project also provided young people from the estate with the opportunity to complete a 40-week paid internship programme. Having had little knowledge of solar energy 12 months ago, the interns have been learning everything about community energy, from how renewable energy technologies work to community engagement and installing energy efficiency measures in the homes of those living in fuel poverty. Now it is show-time and the Banister House intern team; Aisha, Victoria, Jalil, Ziggy and Israel have been working hard on the ground and on the roofs to get the solar arrays into place and connected up before summer’s end.
For some, this was a first taste of practical work, for others, the experience represented an important next step towards their chosen career. Either way, the internship has provided them with a unique experience, boosting their confidence as well as their awareness of the greater issues of energy and climate change. Even in the early September showers, all our interns enjoyed getting stuck in, knowing that the benefits would be felt by their families, friends and neighbours.
“I decided to join this project to learn about solar panels, to gain better communication skills, to learn to work with different people and to help me get an apprenticeship in the future. I think the draught proofing and energy efficiency work in this project is important” Lanre Alafe, 17, Banister House Resident and project intern
“This project for me is very important as it is a chance for me to make a change in my community, and to show that young people are also capable of making a difference and that we should not be dismissed so easily.” Aisha Fortunato, 17, Banister House Resident and project intern
We are having a launch party on Saturday 3rd October to celebrate all the hard work that everyone has put in to-date and all the benefits that the project will bring to the community. For more information about the event in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org