Dorset Community Energy (DCE) also secured funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund to carry out a feasibility study to supply solar photovoltaic electricity to 53 new homes being developed by Bridport Co-Housing and designed to Passiv House specifications.
DCE appointed consultants Wessex Energy Solutions (WES) to conduct the study which has shown that using a standard model of installing panels onto homes and selling electricity to the householders would not be financially viable, however installing an array of panels whose electricity is shared across the houses, by a micro-grid, backed up with a storage battery is financially viable. WES worked with microgrid experts Clean Energy Prospector (CEPRO).
Bridport Co-Housing have decided to progress a solar photovoltaic and micro-grid project, and to install heat pumps instead of gas heating, which will result in the housing development being carbon positive, probably the first in the UK. Bridport Co-Housing are seeking an investor to fund the solar photovoltaic panels on the houses. DCE directors have chosen not to be financially involved in developing the project, as we do not have the experience of operating private electricity grids, and metering and billing individual households. CEPRO, who have experience from a number of similar projects, intend to take the project forward with their specialist community micro-grid development vehicle, the Foundry. This will leave open the option for another organisation, which could include DCE to purchase the micro-grid after two to three years.
DCE is really proud to have been a part of this project, and has been offered a seat on the board of any company set up to run the microgrid, so still has the option to be involved long-term in this exciting project.