Chas Booth is councillor for Leith, a director of Greener Leith and a director of the Edinburgh Community Solar Cooperative. He writes:
As a trustee of Greener Leith I was heavily involved in efforts by PEDAL — Portobello Transition Town and Greener Leith to set up a community-owned wind turbine on Seafield sewage works in 2011 and 2012.
Unfortunately the specific proposals for Seafield didn’t come to fruition because Scottish Water pulled out of the deal, but there is still the chance for of a community-owned wind project near Inverness, which is currently going through the planning process, and which I hope the Leith and Portobello communities can have a stake in if its approved.
My experience in working for the Seafield turbine in 2011-12 underlined to me the hundreds of hours of volunteer time that are often put into community renewables projects, often with no guarantee of a successful outcome.
So I was delighted to attend the launch recently of Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative. This is a new venture which aims to put solar panels on the roofs of 25 council buildings around the city, to cut carbon emissions and to create a community benefit fund which can be invested in community initiatives.
Prospect Bank School on Restalrig Road in Leith, and Tumbles Gymnastics and Softplay Centre in Portobello are two of the local buildings that are set to benefit.
The building users benefit from cheap electricity, the environment benefits from clean green renewable energy, and the community benefits from funds to re-invest in tackling fuel poverty. Genuinely a win-win-win proposal.
I’m particularly delighted the Co-op has got to the stage of formally launching a share offer. It has involved a lot of hard work to get to this point, and I look forward to the panels themselves being installed on schools, community centres and swimming pools across the city over the next 12 months.
Of course, before we get to that stage, we need to raise the cash.
The share offer launch had a lot of interest, but sufficient investors are now needed to put their money into the project. The minimum investment is £250, but that delivers a 5% return which is more then you’ll get from most savings accounts these days.
And of course you can invest more if you want to. I hope that supporters of the Portobello and Leith Community Wind Energy project will consider investing in a great community scheme on our doorstep.
To request a share offer document or to find out more, text SUNSHINE to 60777, or visit www.edinburghsolar.coop. You too can get involved in an initiative that delivers real power to the people of Leith and Portobello.
Solar Panel pic: CC | https://flic.kr/p/6oaJF