Yes, there is still money available to support community energy in Camden, but we have to act soon.

Yes, there is still money available to support community energy in Camden, but we have to act soon.

solar panelsThe last few months have been hard for community energy projects with national support being slashed. However, here in Camden we have an opportunity to apply for support from a new source of funding, the Community Infrastructure Levy or CIL.

The CIL is a new tax collected by Camden Council and paid by developers after their planning permissions are implemented. It is charged on all developments which add one or more new dwellings or more than 100sqm of floor space. The funds raised can be spent on infrastructure projects such as schools, transport, green spaces or community buildings. Although the majority of the funds will be spent centrally, 25% of the CIL will be available for local projects allocated on a ward by ward basis. The amount expected to be available each year will vary considerably by ward from just £6,375 in Frognal and Fitzjohns to £379,463 in St Pancras and Somers Town.

Ward councillors have been given the responsibility for determining a priority list of projects by 8 January 2015 and we’d like to see community energy projects high on those lists.

As an example, the recent installation of solar panels at Camden School for Girls, estimated to save 14 tonnes of carbon emissions annually, shows that such projects are desirable, feasible and deliverable. The capital cost of £27,000 (including VAT) was difficult to raise from donors and is unlikely to be replicable but would not be a large sum in the context of the expected CIL funds for the ward.

Here at CamdenCAN, we are focusing on Cantelowes ward being a reasonably significant beneficiary of the CIL (circa £243,188 expected) and also one in which we have strong links. We have identified a number of potential sites to put forward but are interested in hearing about others. More importantly though we want to be able to demonstrate that we have the support of Cantelowes ward, so if you live in the area please please do get in touch. You can check which ward you live in here. If you’d like to take this idea forward in your own ward we’d be happy to help too.

Invest in solar energy and reduce your carbon footprint

Invest in solar energy and reduce your carbon footprint

footstepsPost by Micaela Torterola, GreenMatch

 

Reducing the carbon footprint has become a common challenge for most governments around the world and especially in Europe. However, we should not let all the responsibility to governments and local authorities. Why not get brave and start reducing the carbon footprint at home?

Luckily, there is a lot to do to reduce your emissions, from simple and “free” solutions to greater investments that usually require more time and money. You should first take some minutes and think about what you do every day, what you buy, how you get from one place to another, where do the things that you consume come from? Not that you should change all of it, but yes there are some alterations that will have a very significant impact on your carbon emissions. The most popular is limiting your car usage and any other mean of transport that relies on fossil fuels. Why not bike or walk instead of taking the bus or using the car for short distances? It is not only greener, but also healthier! Walk more, bike more…

Something else that you should start doing is paying more attention to what you buy. Try not to buy industrialized food or products that have been transported a long distance to reach you. Stick to local produce, and avoid consuming fruits and vegetables that are not from the season and from your place.

Also, although this might sound a bit too obvious, it is something that most people forget. You should keep an eye on your household’s use of electricity, making sure you use lights and devices only if necessary. Moreover, to maximize your heating/cooling efficiency, you should make sure your home is properly insulated and no heat is lost due to improper glazing, or badly insulated roofs and floors.

What About Generating Your Own (and Green!) Electricity?

Now that you are thinking about optimizing your energy consumption, why not consider investing in solar technologies in order to produce your own electricity? Despite its grey and cloudy weather, the UK is showing an increasing number of solar panel installations. Especially in those areas where there is a bit more sunlight than in the rest of the country, like the south and western regions.

This behaviour can be explained with the big drop in the price of solar technologies in the past five years and also due to the Feed-In-Tariff. If you are engaged with environmental issues, you might have heard about this scheme, which means that your energy supplier will give you money for every unit or electricity you produce using renewable sources of energy. This applies not only if you sell the energy back to the national grid, but also if you use it to cover your domestic energy demand. The Feed-In-Tariff has therefore attracted many to invest in solar panels, because it means that your investment will pay back faster (on average 7-9 years) and you will actually make money out of your solar system after this period.

In brief, investing in solar is a great alternative if you are interested in reducing your carbon footprint and switching to greener habits. Solar panels harness the energy of the sun and convert it into electricity that can be used for domestic and commercial purposes. This means that you will have your own free and green energy available at home. Moreover, after some years you will make some money out of your investment. So, if you said no to solar panels because you thought they are very expensive, we are happy to inform you that although the initial investment might cause you some headaches, the long-term results will definitely make you very happy!

If you are interested in getting further information about solar suppliers, you can get free and no-obligation quotes from specialist suppliers in GreenMatch.co.uk. In this site you can also access very useful information you might like to read before investing in green energy.