The project aims to work with communities in Cumbria and Lancashire to identify opportunities for energy efficiency, solar power and community energy initiatives.
A £15,000 grant from Electricity North West will help to create state-of-the-art tools for solar mapping and carbon footprint calculation. These will first be used in the context of small businesses and households in three different communities to help them maximise their collective potential to generate renewable energy.
Solar power mapping
Large scale installation of solar energy/photovoltaic (PV) systems is key to achieving sustainability in our communities; it’s therefore important to identify potential suitable roof space for modelling PV deployment.
Working with the University of Lancaster, CAfS has developed a tool which can map and measure the roof space of a town or community and assess the maximum number and capacity of solar panels that could be installed. This will provide an assessment of which roofs in a particular community would provide the best generating potential.
We will engage with the local communities to develop this work further to determine how PV mapping could play a key role in a ‘whole place’ zero carbon approach.
Carbon footprint tool
As part of the project we will also utilise a carbon footprint tool which is currently being piloted in Ambleside in Cumbria (Ambleside to Zero project) to help businesses understand what their carbon impact is and measures they can take to reduce it. The assessment will be combined with the latest tailored advice for businesses on how to decarbonise.
This tool and support will be focused on small businesses and domestic households who do not have the resources to carry out this kind of assessment themselves. Evidence suggests that a similar tool, developed by Chester University and rolled out in Ashton Hayes in Cheshire, led to a 20% reduction in carbon emissions over a two-year period.
To deliver the Community Energy Start-up project, CAfS is hoping to work with a number of partners who have expressed interest including:
- University of Lancaster
- Lancashire City Council
- Morecambe Bay Renewables
- Penrith Action for Community Transition (PACT).
CAfS has put a call out to other sustainability groups, transition networks and community energy groups across Lancashire and Cumbria who would be welcome to participate.
For more information on our community and local energy strategy visit Electricity North West’s website and strategy page.