By SE24 Director Laura Wilson
SE24 Sustainable Energy was formed in 2014 by a group of like-minded individuals in Herne Hill, South London (who also spent a lot of time cycling together). We all shared a desire to take real action on climate change by developing locally owned, renewable energy assets sited on community buildings.
We became a Community Benefit Society (CBS or Bencom) in 2015.
We have since gone on to become one of the leading community energy groups in London with a proven track record in developing locally owned energy projects funded by community investment.
How has SE24 grown?
In our early days we were mentored by well-established community energy group Ovesco (based around Lewes) then in Summer 2016 we launched our first share offer which successfully raised £80,000 from local investors to install 19.25kW of solar PV on two local church buildings: Herne Hill Methodist Church Hall and Herne Hill United Free Church.
We soon moved on to two much larger, ambitious projects which saw us installing 100kW of solar PV at Dulwich College and 50kW at St Christopher’s Hospice for which we raised £200,000 from community investors.
In 2017 we were awarded a grant from the London Community Energy fund to develop a 25kW project at Walworth Methodist Church, which was installed with support from the British Airways Carbon Fund.
Since 2019 we have been collaborating with neighbouring community energy groups SELCE (link) and CREW (link) to develop a community owned model for LED lighting in community buildings.
Most recently we were awarded feasibility funding from the London Community Energy Fund to install LED lighting and solar PV at The Charter School North Dulwich and LED lighting at Charles Dickens Primary School. This is a major opportunity for us. It will substantially increase our solar generating capacity, allow us to work with our local secondary school for the first time, and allow us to diversify into retrofit LED lighting.
We are seeking to raise £240,000 to cover these projects of which a little over half has already been covered by existing investors and friends.
How is SE24 run?
As a CBS or a Bencom, SE24 is governed by a set of rules based on the cooperative principles. We have 42 investors – almost all are local, south London residents. Every investor is a member of SE24 and is able to vote at our AGM – one member, one vote – regardless of the size of their investment. We are overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
We have a board of seven directors that bring a broad range of skills and sectoral experience to our organisation, plus a range of consultants and advisers who provide specialist skills.
We are all volunteers. All of us are passionately committed to ensuring that community energy plays a key role in the UK’s transition towards a low carbon economy with a decentralised energy system at its core.
In common with all community energy groups, SE24 also aims to generate positive social impact. Surplus revenue from our projects is directed towards our Community Fund which currently focuses on alleviating fuel poverty in the local area.
We are part of the growing community energy movement across London and the UK. We are active members of Community Energy London and Community Energy England, which advocate and lobby on behalf of the sector and local communities.
Recently one of our directors, Paul Hallas, was invited to give evidence to the House of Common’s Environmental Audit Committee on the importance of the community energy sector in reaching the UK’s net zero target.
Please join us
SE24 is an exciting stage development. We are growing and diversifying. We want as many people as possible in our local communities to have the opportunity to invest in these local energy schemes. To download the prospectus and application form click below.