KCEG developed out of some of the original eco-group ideas around reduction in carbon emissions, energy efficiency and the use of renewables as a way of responding to climate change at the local level. We were especially enthused by the efforts of larger groups, notably Low Carbon West Oxford and Community Energy Warwickshire.
A small group was formed to discuss how we might move things forward. We had an early survey of housing stock and considered how we might form a local association or cooperative which might benefit from the government Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme especially from solar arrays. Various sites were identified including the MOD base and, more particularly, the two schools. We held a conference at Kineton High School in March 2013 specifically to explore the possibilities of solar panel arrays on the school sites.
The range of interested parties included senior school staff and a governor, legal representatives, local district councillors and key relevant personnel from Warwickshire County Council, plus an activist who had facilitated a solar array on a nearby primary school All participants offered support for such project in principle. .We also conducted a questionnaire through Outlook both to raise awareness of renewable technologies and also to gauge local support for communal energy projects. Over and beyond organisational and legal issues, the key problem has been the raising of sufficient capital to develop these schemes.
We are very grateful to KSSC for acting as partners in the development of Kineton's first communal solar array and the very active role of Dave Skelding, Alan Hill and also Rob Ballantyne in making this happen. Through EC2Solar,the KSSC roof array of 90 panels has now generated 6000. We were able to raise the 22k for this project with the assistance of an Awards for All grant plus loans from 18 generous, local people who will also receive a small return from their investment over the expected 25 year period of the project.
Thanks also go to Richard Betts, Nick Gunn, Bob Bearman, Philip and Jo Cooper, David Julliard, and Keith Sinfield for their participation in KCEG and most particularly to Barbara Cooper from CEW for ongoing organisational advice.