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Solar Celebration 14 Sep 2012 Prime Minister and local MP David Cameron opened a pioneering community solar PV scheme at Eynsham Village Hall today.

David Cameron visited at the invitation of Transition Eynsham Area (GreenTEA) and Oxford Low Carbon Hub. Welcoming the scheme, which had already generated almost 2,500 units of electricity, he said:

“... The project is something that I whole heartedly support and I would like to personally thank GreenTEA and the Low Carbon Hub for making it possible. ... Not only will it make a positive difference to our environment, it will help to inspire and encourage more communities to get involved ... This is the realisation, on a small, local scale, of something that's very important for the whole country.”

Cameron added: “It makes sense to be less reliant on oil. It makes sense to be more resilient. It also makes sense economically - green energy can be a huge source of jobs, investment and technology for the future of our country.”

Local environment group GreenTEA has worked closely with the Low Carbon Hub, a community interest company, to install 12.65kW of solar PV on the village hall and 6kW on the presbytery of St Peter’s church. The scheme will provide clean, green electricity and a revenue stream to fund other carbon- reducing initiatives in the area. Sarah Couch leader of GreenTEA’s energy group said:

“... our first large-scale community scheme ... will give the village hall free electricity, provide us with a small income to continue our energy-saving projects ... [and] raise awareness about the value of renewable energy. We have made a good start and continuing support and certainty of government policy would encourage more people to join in.”

The Low Carbon Hub is working with low carbon community groups, to help them “power up” - develop renewable energy projects - and “power down” - reduce energy demand - to build a cleaner, greener future for Oxfordshire. Income from schemes like Eynsham’s will go partly towards supporting the Hub’s work and partly to community groups to fund their energy-saving projects. Barbara Hammond, Director of the Hub, said:

“Ambitious community-led projects, like Eynsham’s, can contribute to a step-change in people’s thinking about energy and inspire others to take action. The Low Carbon Hub wants to help other communities do this and to see a green energy “revolution” across Oxfordshire.”

Having installed their first community energy scheme, Eynsham and the Low Carbon Hub are now working together on an ambitious project to create a virtual power station for Oxfordshire. Didcot A Power Station is closing as it doesn’t meet EC carbon emission standards. This will leave a gap in the county’s electricity generation but opens the opportunity to “build” a cleaner, greener alternative: a People’s Power Station. The aim is to replace the need for another conventional power source in the county and help meet 2020 carbon reduction targets. They invite businesses, communities and individual householders to contribute to the People’s Power Station and post up their case studies to the website.

The opening of the village hall community solar PV scheme is the Eynsham launch of the People’s Power Station.


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