London Community Energy Fund offers help with solar PV

London-based community groups can get grants of up to £15,000 to help design solar PV installations. The offer comes ahead of Feed-in Tariff deadline.

Solar panels installed on the 10th floor roof of London Transport 's HQ (Photo: murphyz via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Annette McGill

The London Community Energy Fund offers London-based community groups grants to help design solar PV installations and community energy projects. 

The fund does not provide capital money towards the purchase and installation of the measures, but grants can be used to support the development stages of community energy projects. Funding can be used, for example, to carry out preliminary viability and feasibility studies or develop a financial business case for green energy projects. 

The deadline for Round Two is November 2, 2018. 

The government's Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for solar energy is due to be scrapped from April 2018. The tariff provides payments to owners of small-scale renewable generators at a fixed rate per unit of electricity produced and is funded through levies on suppliers.

Successful Community Energy Fund Applicants will be offered a grant to enable groups to start development work as soon as possible, so that solar panels are registered or pre-registered for the FiT by 31 March 2019.

Full details about how to apply to the fund are available on the London government website. 

The London Community Energy Fund was announced in 2017 in the Mayor's Draft Solar Action Plan. The first phase of the fund supported the development of eleven solar community projects across the capital. 

St Anne's Church in Highgate was one funding recipient. Power Up North London (PUNL) installed  19 kWp of solar PV on the south facing roof of the church. The array is estimated to generate over 16 MWh of clean electricity a year, which equates to a reduction in carbon emissions of around nine tonnes per year and reduced the church's costs. 

The project was funded through a community share offer which attracted 60 investors. Surplus income contributes to PUNL’s Community Energy Fund and is made available for further projects in the local area.