At the end of 2007, with support from Co-operative Development Scotland, the Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative Ltd was formed with the aim of giving Edinburgh’s residents a way to promote and develop renewable and low carbon energy production in the city. After five years looking into various options with little success, the decision was taken to move on and create a new co-op that would primarily focus on delivering a large-scale photovoltaic project for Edinburgh. That new co-op was the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative (ECSC).
At the time of the ECSC’s formation at the very end of 2013, Edinburgh had a lower number of solar panels when compared to other cities across the UK. It was perceived that this was because many people lived in tenement flats with no access to the roof. Through the collective ownership of solar panels installed on community buildings, the ECSC offered Edinburgh residents a way of doing something positive about climate change, helping Edinburgh become a cleaner and greener city while also providing financial benefit to the residents and community as a whole.
With the assistance of Energy4All, the City of Edinburgh Council and a range of other organisations, on the 29th September 2015 ECSC launched a share offer to raise funds to install solar panels on a number of council buildings throughout Edinburgh. With £1.4 million raised, the share offer was a success and solar power generation commenced in 2016, totalling over 1.1GWh of electricity in the first year of operation.
A second share offer (known as Phase 2) was launched in October 2020 which successfully raised £660,000. The funds were used to install solar PV on a further 6 council owned buildings with more host buildings proposed for the future.
Today ECSC continues to generate solar power from 30 host buildings in Edinburgh and return the profits to both our members directly and the community though the Community Benefit Fund which came into operation in 2018. We are actively working with partners on a range of other energy saving and low carbon measures to assist in our goal of reducing climate change emissions, improving energy security and helping to foster sustainable development in and around the City of Edinburgh.