Neighbouring community-owned energy co-ops benefit from peer mentoring
Our peer mentoring scheme has supported two neighbouring community-owned energy co-ops in South East London.
Sustainable Energy 24 Ltd (SE24) was formed in October 2014 by a group of Lambeth and Southwark residents who have successfully developed community-owned solar PV projects.
SE24 applied to The Hive peer mentor scheme to receive support to help them with two new solar PV projects and community share offers. They were partnered with an experienced neighbouring community energy group, South East London Community Energy (SELCE) based in Greenwich.
How did the mentoring support help?
SE24 benefited from technical support and guidance from SELCE to carry out a tendering process to procure an appropriate solar PV installer. They were also helped with developing a robust financial model and provided other business templates that enabled SE24 to successfully raise over £200,000 from the local community for two solar arrays: the first on St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham and the second at Dulwich College, a leading local school.
This proved to be a very successful working relationship and by combining efforts they jointly commissioned GHG Energy as the solar PV installer, creating economies of scale and improving efficiency for both organisations.
Alan Jones, SE24 Chair and Technical Director, was extremely positive about being matched with an experience mentor:
"We are delighted to be mentored by SELCE who were able to pass on their knowledge and experience and share their processes and templates to develop two community share offers.
This helped us to considerably reduce our learning curve and avoid pitfalls. We have successfully developed renewable energy projects which will save CO2 emissions of around 1,140 metric tons over the next 20 years and established a Community Fund which will be used to tackle fuel poverty in the local area."
The process was rewarding for SELCE too, says, Giovanna Speciale:
"Mentoring SE24 proved to be an extremely interesting and rewarding two-way learning process. We are two neighbouring energy co-ops who have formed a long term alliance and we continue to work together to share insights and learning."