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Community energy

Community energy contacts

Project stage National resource hub Local links
Structures and governance
If your group has not already established a formal legal entity, you may need to set one up to deliver your community energy project.
Structures and governance
Details the five main legal structures suitable for delivering community energy projects.

Chester Voluntary Action
A range of support is provided to strengthen governance arrangements and develop trustee boards.

Cheshire Community Action
Community development services for rural community groups.

Acquiring skilled volunteers
Community Energy projects can be quite complex and it is useful to have volunteers with a range of skills to navigate each stage.

Establishing a community group
Looks in detail at the skills required to run a community energy project.

Chester Voluntary Action
SkillShare matches local business people, who want to volunteer their skills and expertise, with voluntary and community groups that require their services.

Site availability
Site selection is one of the most important aspects of a community renewable energy project. The site may be an asset owned by the community or a third party landowner.

Securing a site
Focusing on community groups looking to secure leases from a third party landowner.

Cheshire Community Action
A comprehensive support service to help volunteers run community buildings and other community assets effectively and maximise potential.

Choosing the technology
While solar PV may be the most common community project, there are many other technologies to consider. Your choice will be affected by site availability and community engagement.
Renewable technologies
A series of modules on both renewable heat and electricity technologies.
Peer Network
Find details of our local peer contacts for advice on the different technologies.
Community engagement
Once you have your core group established, you can start engaging with the wider community and encouraging involvement in your project.

Communications and engagement
How to get local people involved in your project and methods of communication.

Chester Voluntary Action
Recent workshops have included digital marketing and communications training.
Planning system
Some renewable technologies have ‘permitted development rights’, such as small-scale solar PV. Other technologies and larger schemes may require planning permission, and applications will be assessed against local and national planning policy.
Detailed information about elements of the planning system that relate specifically to renewable energy.

Cheshire West and Chester Council Development Control
The planning service is your first point of call for information regarding planning applications.

Cheshire West and Chester Council Planning Policy
Information regarding the CWAC Local Plan and guidance documents.

Cheshire West and Chester Council Neighbourhood Planning
Toolkit breaking down the Neighbourhood Planning process in to stages, also including a guidance note on community energy policies.

Cheshire Community Action
Actively involved with a number of neighbourhood plans, the team includes experienced chartered town planners with skills in community engagement.

Identifying funding
Funding will be needed at various stages of the project, from initial feasibility studies, to capital costs and ongoing income generation. This funding may come in a variety of forms, but advice is available to identify the most suitable sources.

A series of modules covering potential funding sources, including grants and subsidies.

Chester Voluntary Action
Advice and information is provided to help groups become better at fundraising, identifying new income streams, and becoming more enterprising and sustainable.

Cheshire Community Action
Funding support to help you find grants and maximise your income.

Grid connection
Renewable energy installations will need to be connected to the grid by their local Distribution Network Operator (DNO), allowing for excess electricity to be exported when demand is low.
Grid connection
Overview of the power grid and considerations for connecting renewables.

SP Energy Networks

SP Energy Networks is the Distribution Network Operator for the Cheshire West and Chester area.

When choosing an installer, it is wise to get a range of quotes, obtain references and seek recommendations from peers. If you are planning to register for the Feed-in Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive, your installer will also need to be accredited.

Introducing some of the key topics around procurement of skills and technology for community groups.

Feed-in Tariff
Covering the two accreditation routes available; MCS and ROO.

Renewable Heat Incentive
Explains the Microgeneration Certification Scheme which installers must be certified under.

Find it in Cheshire and Warrington
Procurement portal from Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East and Warrington Borough Councils, allowing you to search for local suppliers.