An energy co-operative hoping to build a solar farm that could power 150 homes has raised £150,000 towards the project in less than a fortnight.

Brighton Energy Coop has raised more than half the total for the first part of the project to erect 1,000 solar panels on a unit in Shoreham Port.

Yesterday, the co-op took £45,000 in just one day as it bids to raise more than £232,000 by November 25 to take advantage of more favourable terms before the Government changes feed-in tariffs from January.

The second phase of the project would see a further 1,000 panels on a different Shoreham Port site while a third phase would see panels on a community building belonging to a “high-profile Brighton institution”, two residential blocks in the city and an industrial unit in Portslade.


Organisers hope the first phase of solar panels will be put up over Christmas, phase two by the end of January or the start of February and the third phase by early spring.

In total, the site would create 500kwh of energy per year, enough to power 150 homes, from a 4,000sqm site which is roughly half the size of a football pitch.

The co-op has now gained more than 120 shareholders but is still aiming to attract more than 200.

It was launched last year with the backing of more than £50,000 in loans and already has three major solar installations at Hove Enterprise Centre at Shoreham Port, City Coast Church in Portslade and St George’s Church, Brighton.

The existing sites create 140 kwh per year, enough to power 850,000 boiling kettles, and have saved the panels’ hosts thousands of pounds on their energy bills.

Shareholders are also taking up the opportunity to leave their shares behind in their wills to their loved ones or to groups such as Greenpeace or the National Trust.

Co-op co-founder Will Cottrell said: “This is the chance for people to put their money where their mouth is.

“We live in a green city and so this is a chance for people to put their beliefs into action.

“We have got a really committed team of members who are putting the message out, retweeting and resending emails and we could not have asked for anything more.

“We have a proven track record for delivering on this kind of project and the financial benefits include a 5% return on investment and a 30% reduction in income tax.”

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