Last Thursday was another Fit4Future event – this time a workshop for those interested, or already developing, large-scale (ground-mounted) solar.
The workshop had 3 objectives:
1) Share best practice on what ‘good’ solar development looks like
2) Facilitate links between landowners, charities and community groups
3) Provide delegates with resources and practical steps they can take at their own sites.
As the organiser, I realise I may have a slightly biased opinion of the day…! BUT given the combined knowledge and experience of all the presenters, best practice was most certainly shared. Best in this case meant:
- Thriving biodiversity – through sound BMP’s (Biodiversity Management Plan) and various boundary, woodland & water features, outlined in BRE’s National Planning Guidance
- Engaged or active communities receiving measurable benefits – by receiving cheaper energy, community funds, direct supply or joint ownership (again, to name a few)
- Commercial sense, taking into account Good Energy’s 5 star approach: land, grid, consent, economics and resource.
Given the mix of people in the room (there were reps from community energy groups, local authorities, landowning organisations, charities and commercial developers) one thing that really stood out from the day was the enthusiasm for more collaboration, which is great because that’s what Fit for the Future Network is all about.
With the ‘right to buy’ outlined in DECC’s Community Energy Strategy (succinctly explained by Philip Wolfe) and the realization that’s there’s more to ownership than the straight forward ‘O’ model (100% ownership by external funders), the day linked people up and sparked some exciting discussions. And who knows, maybe we’ll start to see a bit more alphabetical variety in the future as a result….V, I, Y, X, K to name a few.
Big thanks to the Fit4Future members the Science Museum for hosting the day and expert speakers Hugo House (Good Energy), James Owen (Swindon Commercial Services), Philip Wolfe (Westmill Solar Co-op) and Guy Parker (Wychwood Biodiversity).
The next Fit4Future workshop will be sharing best practice on behaviour change programmes and staff engagement, hosted by the RNLI at their Lifeboat Station in Exmouth. Thursday 5th June. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.