Residents at Dalston’s Wilton Estate could see their energy bills slashed if its bid for a rooftop solar farm gets the go-ahead.
The local tenants’ association (WETRA) has applied for a grant from the Mayor of London’s Community Energy Fund.
If successful, the estate could soon be home to Hackney’s second rooftop solar farm, following the prototype built at Banister House in Homerton.
WETRA chair Debbie Mitchener said: “We’re all very excited about the bid. Not only will it help keep a lid on residents’ energy bills and service charges, we’re also hoping to engage young people on the estate in valuable learning opportunities and solar panel building workshops as the project develops.”
WETRA wants to use the estate’s flat roof for a solar array of around 50 kilowatts, as well as a set of batteries that would store enough energy to provide nighttime lighting for communal spaces, stairwells and the community centre.
The group is also considering powering two electric car charging bays, and selling power to local residents as part of an energy club.
Mitchener added: “Each year, the solar farm will produce about 44 megawatt hours of power, enough to cut the borough’s carbon footprint by about 23 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.”
Volunteers from community group Hackney Energy have been helping WETRA with its bid, and team member James Robb would love to see more projects like the Banister House prototype.
He said: “We know of a number of other estates in Hackney that will be encouraged by this bid if it gets the go-ahead early next year. We’re hoping it gets full backing from Hackney councillors, who are making all the right noises about backing community energy.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants to make London a zero carbon city by 2050, with his Solar Action Plan set to be finalised in 2018.
To help communities get involved in producing energy, Khan launched the London Community Energy Fund, which offers grants of up to £15,000 to support the development stage of neighbourhood solar projects.
A decision on WETRA’s bid is expected early next year.