The aim of the project is to install electronic displays at four local schools which already have solar panels installed. The displays will provide information about the solar panels and the energy they generate, which will help engage the children and the local community on energy issues.
The role of Electricity North West
Following the launch of our community energy strategy last year, we announced the Powering our Communities Fund to support projects that put community and local energy at the heart of communities. In particular, the fund is intended for projects that demonstrate how they can engage communities in energy issues; support vulnerable customers and/or reduce fuel poverty; or deliver new ways of working, fit for a smart, flexible low carbon grid.
The fund will provide some much needed resources into the development of community energy projects across the region and will help increase awareness and understanding of the benefits and possibilities that community energy can bring. A total of six successful projects received a share of £71,000, announced in March 2019.
What is community energy and how does this project fit the bill?
We see community energy as community-led projects or initiatives to reduce, manage, generate or purchase energy. Community energy projects focus on engagement and benefits to the local area and communities.
The solar generation on the schools is owned by OCP and therefore the community. By extending the project to engage with the school children, the project will deliver extra benefit to the community by raising awareness of energy issues, climate change and the benefits of installing renewable energy sources such as solar power.
Organisation behind the project
Based in Oldham, OCP is a community benefit society which aims to generate electricity from renewable sources located at council-owned and community buildings for the benefit of the environment and the local community. The society is contracted to install solar panels on community buildings in return for providing electricity at reduced prices.
At the same time the society aims to provide an educational service on the need for and benefits of sustainable energy.
Background and detailed description of the project
In 2018, with support from an Oldham-based IT consultancy and a grant from Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, OCP installed a large digital display at Beever Street School. The screen relays information about the electricity generated from the school’s solar panels to the school children and the local community. This project will replicate this service at four additional schools in the Oldham area.
The displays will serve as a constant reminder of climate change, the importance of sustainable energy and the dramatic shift taking place in the energy market. They will also help to promote the benefits of community energy schemes, where electricity is generated and used locally for the benefit of the environment and the local community.
To deliver the project, OCP will be working with a number of partners including the local IT consultancy, the staff and pupils of the schools concerned, Front Screen and Raspberry Pi Zero for the purchase of IT hardware.
Where to go for further information
For more information on our community and local energy strategy visit our strategy page, or visit www.oldhamcommunitypower.org.uk to find out more about the work of OCP.