Solar Connected Communities: Moniaive Initiative

 

Moniaive InitiativeProject name: Solar Connected Communities: Moniaive Initiative
Technology: 2.5kW solar PV
Location: Moniaive, Dumfries and Galloway
CARES funding: CARES enablement grant for Energy Performance Certificate and Development Officer time. Funding was also received from SP Energy Networks Green Economy Fund, Annandale and Nithsdale Community Benefit Company (ANCBC) and Glencairn Community Council Wind Farm fund.
Date installed/operational: March 2020

Moniaive Initiative was established in 2013 to deliver legacy projects for the communities of Moniaive and Glencairn. Its main aims and objectives are to relieve the rural isolation, social and economic disadvantage that can be caused by remote location, to advance sustainable community development, and to encourage everyone in the community to participate in education, arts, culture and leisure.

To advance its aims and objectives, Moniaive initiative works in partnership with local organisations. This includes Glencairn Bowling Club who wanted to incorporate sustainability into refurbishment projects at the club.
Zero Waste Scotland initially worked with the bowling club to help it identify further energy efficiency opportunities at its building. It produced a detailed summary report which highlighted the installation of solar PV to further reduce its carbon emissions.

Local Energy Scotland supported Moniaive Initiative with a CARES enablement grant to pay for an Energy Performance Certificate for the bowling club. This enabled the community group to pre-register for the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme.

The FIT scheme closed to new applications in March 2019. Ofgem offered community organisations a 12-month extension through a simple pre-registration process. Communities interested in small solar PV projects (50 kW or less) could pre-register buildings with Ofgem and then have 12 months to get their project up and running but still receive FIT payments at the January 2019 rate. These payments are then guaranteed for 20 years.

Local Energy Scotland was keen to support Moniaive Initiative to make the most of this opportunity as the financial return is likely to be significantly more than developing projects without this support.

Project aims and objectives

To advance its key aims and objectives, Moniaive Initiative partnered with the community owned Glencairn Bowling Club. The project’s specific aims were to reduce Glencairn Bowling Club’s carbon emissions and improve its energy efficiency ratings.

Profit from the FIT and the sale of electricity over the next 20 years will support the groups’ future charitable activities.

The project aims to have a lasting environmental, economic and social benefit on the communities which Moniaive Initiative serves. The project also aims to support community involvement and partnership working in local energy systems which may encourage new installations of locally owned renewable energy in the future.

Outcomes and achievements

Local Energy Scotland supported Moniaive Initiative to pre-register for the FIT with Ofgem and obtain external private grant funding, which was required in order to remain eligible for FIT, for the capital installation costs.

Moniaive Initiative received approximately £4,900 from SPEN’s Green Economy Fund for the capital costs of the solar PV installation. They also received funding from Annandale and Nithsdale Community Benefit Company (ANCBC) and from Glencairn Community Council Windfarm Fund (GCCWFF). The bowling club secured an agreement that any surplus from the GCCWFF could be used to further improve the energy efficiency of the building.

Moniaive Initiative and Glencairn Bowling Club used the services of R K Renewables Ltd., a local contractor, to install the 2.5 kW solar PV system on the green keeper’s store constructed by the members of the club.

The project had to develop, build and secure the FIT within 12 months, and the solar panels became operational in March 2020.

The project is contributing towards the Scottish Government’s ambition to have 1GW of locally owned energy by 2020 and 2GW by 2030, as outlined in the Scottish Energy Strategy, its vision for the future of the energy system in Scotland.

First year carbon savings of 542kg CO2 are expected, in addition to significant energy cost savings. The lifetime of the project is expected to be between 20 and 25 years.

The cost savings and surpluses that Moniaive Initiative and Glencairn Bowling Club makes are being reinvested into their work, which contributes to a wider positive impact across the communities they serve.

Lessons learned

Duncan Saunderson, Project Lead at Glencairn Bowling Club, said: “The bowling club learned how to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate, and what’s involved in undertaking one. The club also learned more about solar panels – what types there are and possible methods of installation.

“The challenges have been around completing various elements on time. We received excellent support from Local Energy Scotland who had previously supported another project [community halls] in Moniaive, so we contacted them again and they proved to be extremely good again.

“If another group were considering such a project, we would advise them to contact Local Energy Scotland. They have proved to be brilliant in their knowledge and advice in both the undertaking of a project and assisting in obtaining funding.”