Salford community project fights big ‘scary monster’ energy firms with solar power

An ambitious community-led renewable energy project aiming to take the fight to the big energy firms is launching in Cadishead today with a ‘DIY solar panel making’ workshop.

Moss Community Energy was created by local residents in response to controversial drilling by fracking firm iGas during the winter of 2013/14.

It aims to take action against climate change, offering local people more direct ownership of their energy.

Mille Darling, Project Manager of national carbon cutting campaign 10:10 which supports the project, said: “Community owned energy isn’t just a dream, it’s a reality. In Germany 40% of all renewable energy is owned by communities, and groups are starting up all over the UK.”

After a pilot site at Moss Lane Farm, the group hopes to build further installations on buildings in the area and reduce dependency on exploitative energy companies.

Membership of Moss Community Energy is open to people throughout Salford and installations will be funded through a community share system, where local people will be invited to invest in the society.

Mark Frith, from Pendleton, said: “When you look at all the combined problems of energy and climate change, it can seem like a scary mess.

“But by getting involved with schemes like Moss Community Energy we can wrestle that scary monster into something manageable. We can take control of our futures.

“Why worry about looking at what the Big Six have to offer and comparing energy prices when we can generate your own?”

Income raised through the electricity will fund local community projects tackling fuel poverty, energy efficiency and environmental education, and to pay dividends to shareholders over a 20 year investment period.

Mike Scantlebury, a member of the project from Ordsall, said: “Tackling climate change is a key reason for me getting involved, but the reasons projects like these are so crucial is they help us deal with more immediate concerns too.

“It’s about keeping warm, paying your bills and not being exploited by big companies, as well as cutting carbon pollution.”

Image courtesy of Activ Solar, with thanks.

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