Burnham Parish Council embraces renewable energy source

Burnham Parish Council is committed to operating responsibly and sustainably – this extends to the way they manage the buildings in their portfolio. The Council wanted to demonstrate this commitment, as well as reduce running costs for their core operations, so that more resource could be dedicated to community activities.
We worked with the Council to identify and successfully apply for grant funding for a feasibility study on the potential for renewable energy systems at the two key sites, and then take those findings through to installation.

Solar powered facilities serve the community, the environment and the Council

Avieco worked with Burnham Parish Council to take their initial idea to reality – realising double-figure return on investment, and carbon savings of 40tCO2e each year.
We approached Burnham Parish Council to discuss an application to the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) for a feasibility study grant. Burnham Parish Council secured £15k to cover technical and financial feasibility assessments and developing the technical specifications to appoint a supplier. The two sites are the flagship Hall in the centre of the village, and a sports pavilion offering changing facilities for multiple local football clubs, and a dance school.
The project was delivered in three phases.

Phase 1: Laying the foundation

Through our extensive experience in supporting Parish Councils, community groups and businesses to implement solar PV; we worked with the Council to discover the potential for solar PV and energy storage at the two sites. A thorough feasibility study took shape in three key steps:

  • Consumption profiling of the sites
  • Site visits to assess suitability of solar PV and to identify any issues like shading,
  • Choosing a suitable system size for the two buildings and developing the technical specifications to issue to potential suppliers.

This portion of the work was completed in winter 2018.

Phase 2: Engaging the public

Once the preferred system sizes were selected, our energy experts supported Burnham Parish Council to conduct community consultation exercises – these involved running drop-in sessions for members of the public to come and raise any concerns, developing posters about the benefits of the proposed systems for the community, and responding to any inbound enquiries from the public.

All these activities enabled Burnham Parish Council to access the financing they needed for the installation from the Public Works Loans Board. Due to the revenue streams Burnham Parish Council was able to access from the feed-in tariff, export payments, and reduced running costs, the cost of borrowing was less than the anticipated return on investment for the Council.

Sheridan Jacklin-Edward

Parish Clerk, Burnham Parish Council

Phase 3: Making it happen

With financing in place and the successful selection of the supplier, Burnham Parish Council also approached us to oversee the installation of the systems at the two sites. We worked closely with the solar PV supplier and staff at the Council to schedule works for minimal disruption to site users, to ensure access to site for delivery of equipment and scaffolding, oversee contractors onsite, receive handover briefings and deliver updates to Councillors.

We also registered the two systems with Ofgem so that Burnham Parish Council could receive feed-in tariff payments.

Solar arrays out-perform projections, cutting more carbon, saving more money

The systems were installed between May and June 2018, and are now overachieving on projections of performance – saving even more energy and money for Burnham Parish Council, and further improving the return to the Council.

In the first six months of operation, the two arrays have generated 70MWh and saved 30 tCO2e.

Sheridan Jacklin-Edward

Parish Clerk, Burnham Parish Council

The clerk is delighted with the work and the support we provided the Council with to make the project as achievable and effortless as possible.

We would highly recommend Avieco. They produced clear and accessible feasibility study reports comprehensively and quickly. They communicated very well, were flexible, and guided us through every step of the process.

Sheridan Jacklin-Edward

Parish Clerk, Burnham Parish Council


Interested in knowing more about our experience in supporting small communities becoming more sustainable?

Read how we supported Woolpit Parish Council here.

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