ACE started life in February 2013 with the objective to take positive action in the face of growing local fuel poverty, energy security, and climate change. We wanted to be part of the answer and were determined that energy solutions we implemented reflected the views of the local community.
Having listened to what people have said through public meetings, consultation, and our facebook page, ACE realised that its priority needs to be the establishment of a secure, resilient locally-owned energy supply for Avalon, provided by installations of renewable energy.
Community Energy is a model that works, see here for a full overview by one of our Directors, Nikki Pillinger. ACE raise funds through ‘Community’ Share Offers, grants, and donations towards establishing energy projects. The share offers provide modest returns for investors – as well as generous tax reliefs – allowing us to make the installations. Funds are then generated to repay investments through sales of generated energy to either the Grid or local consumers (usually a building or other major user adjacent to the installation) and through any Feed-In Tariffs or other subsidies available. The funds generated, once maintenance and admin costs are deducted, go to paying interest on investments with the surplus going into a Community Benefit Fund. This latter fund allows us to fulfil our wider priorities – see Our Mission.
We are now at the completion of our first stage – having installed Rooftop Solar PV arrays on our initial sites; raising £190,000 through our community share offers. Our next project builds on this success, using our rooftop installation at Brookside Academy Primary School in Street as the model for our new Local Schools Rooftop Solar project.
However, we are always looking for more opportunities, so please e-mail us if you know of a suitable site or wish to share your views on potential projects.
ACE is set up as a Community Benefit Society – which is a form of Co-operative venture – with two levels of member, these being Community and Supporter Members. A Community Member is a local person or organisation who will directly benefit from the activities of ACE and for the benefit of whom ACE exists! A Supporter Member can be a shareholder in one of our energy schemes and does not have to be in the local area to benefit from these.
ACE is run by a voluntary Board of Directors elected from and by the membership; all of whom are committed to bringing Community Renewables to Avalon. We have alongside us a team of advisors incorporating legal practitioners, energy consultants, and community engagement specialists.
The map below shows the area in which ACE is based and in which we operate: