AGM on Tuesday 17th April

Our AGM is on Tuesday 17th April 2018, at 7pm. It will be held at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead, SL6 4PF, where we did our first installation.

A good first full year of generating

2016-17 was our first full year of generating from all our solar panels from our sites at Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead, and The Magna Carta School in Egham, where we have panels on two separate buildings. We were pleased that we generated slightly more electricity than we forecast we would. From October 2016 to September 2017, which is when our financial year runs, we generated 92.6 megawatt hours of electricity, and saved around 13 tons of CO2.

That means we made a profit for the year of £9,000. We are proposing to pay out our first dividend, at 2.5%. We’ll be voting on that at the AGM.

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Putting solar panels on the roofs of community buildings is a great way to tackle climate change and help community groups, but at the moment the government cuts to the feed-in tariff means it takes a long time to earn back the cost of installing the panels, and it’s hard to make it viable. If the costs of solar panels and the inverters that connect them to the grid keep falling, that will improve, and we expect they will.

What else have we been up to?

We’ve been working on two possible new ways forward for the community energy movement, with the help of a grant from the Urban Community Energy Fund. We’ve explored the opportunities for solar panels and large-scale batteries on much larger roofs than we’ve looked at before. One was at industrial estates, where we decided that the model is only likely to work when businesses own their own premises rather than renting them. This means we’ve pioneered a good approach for our sector, which we and UCEF will share, but there’s no local opportunity in it for us.

The other option we looked at was working with university campuses, and we think we’ve found a viable partnership at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), in Egham. This year we aim to start a pilot installation at RHUL using the rest of the share capital we have in the bank, just over £24,000. If that goes well, we’ll make a new share offer for a bigger installation.

We also want to thank Mike Austell, who resigned as a Director in order to go back to the U.S. Mike helped us to understand the importance of energy storage, and to explore its potential. Ben Niblett, who works for Tearfund and campaigns on climate change, has offered to stand for election in his place.

We’d love to hear your questions or ideas at any time, not just the AGM. Please do get in touch by emailing maidenergy@outlook.com or via our Facebook page or Twitter @MaidEnergy.

We’re helping produce clean energy to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, serve local community groups, and give a fair return to members.

Leah Robson

Chair, MaidEnergy