Community Energy aims to change the way Kent powers local services

Community Energy aims to change the way Kent powers local services
Orchard Community Energy Solar Farm, Swale

Community Energy aims to create alternative sources of power to the main suppliers for a variety of schemes, while at the same time generating income at local level.

Local organiser Fran Long told the Times: “The idea is to tackle climate change while at the same time providing income and investors for the community and creating interest around renewable energy. This contrasts to mainstream large power companies that exist purely to provide income for investors.”

There is currently only one such project operating in Kent, at Swale, where it has been set up to produce electricity.

Others across the country provide heating, insulation and electric vehicle charging points powered by renewables, and zero carbon affordable housing.

In Swale, a solar farm called Orchard Community Energy near Sittingbourne has been set up on farmland damaged by past brick earth extraction, and generates enough renewable energy to power 1,250 homes.

Kent Community Energy intends to build on the Orchard experience and expand to the rest of the county, incorporating other schemes such as rooftop solar panels and charging points.

Fran said: “Investors in community energy will have one vote per person – irrespective of the value of their holding – as to how the income provided for the local community projects should be spent. Orchard Community Energy has already provided grants of £30,000 to local projects in Swale and Medway, in addition to interest to its investors.”

Examples of local projects to have benefited from Orchard are volunteering at Abbey Physic Community Garden, and beehives for the Brogdale National Fruit Collection in Faversham.

A free public meeting will be held in the Judd suite at The Angel Centre in Tonbridge tomorrow [Thursday, February 13] from 7pm-9pm to provide more information on community energy.

Those wishing to attend should search for Kent Community Energy at

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