THE Minster of State for energy and climate change praised a community-funded solar-energy scheme at Shoreham Port following a visit on Thursday.
Greg Barker scaled the roof of Shed 3a at the port to view Brighton Energy Coop’s (BEC) new 800-panel solar array, which will start generating green electricity from mid July.
Mr Barker said: “Since I became a minister in 2010, more than half a million homes have started to generate their own electricity using solar PV.
“New community energy projects like this are opening up the opportunity to join the solar revolution to engage in the community.
“This project here in Shoreham Port is a great example of community action.”
The £240,000 scheme has been funded entirely by members of the public, who have bought shares in BEC over the past three months, ranging from £300 to £20,000.
The 200kW solar array will provide enough green electricity to power offices, a repair workshop and other port operations.
BEC has now raised more than £700,000 in total for its two solar energy schemes, making it the largest community-funded, renewable energy initiative in the South East.
Director Will Cottrell said: “BEC continues to grow and grow, providing clean, green energy for the city and showing that there is a viable alternative to fracking.
“This latest scheme shows that people want to and can influence the future of energy supply,”
Development director at Shoreham Port Peter Davies said: “This is another successful and exciting stage in the relationship between Shoreham Port and BEC.
“We now have more than 2,000 solar panels at the Port, which will help us to cut our energy bill and reduce our carbon footprint.”
The launch follows another 1,000-panel solar array on Shed 10 at Shoreham Port, switched on earlier this year.
Port chief executive Rodney Lunn said: “As an eco-port, we are delighted to support the BEC in their goal of achieving sustainable energy development in the South East.
“The solar-panel scheme has received extensive support from the local community and we look forward to continuing to reduce our carbon footprint as the project grows.”