Sheffield Renewables was formed by a group of sustainability-minded volunteers in late 2007. It has become an energetic and committed community business which harnesses local enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to improve Sheffield’s environmental sustainability. Sheffield Renewables funds, develops, owns and operates renewable energy schemes in a way that benefits both the city and its people.
The business is staffed entirely by volunteers and has an elected board of community members. It is currently seeking additional roof space for additional solar PV installations in Sheffield. Its existing installations include a 50kW installation on the Paces Campus Community Centre in High Green and a 50kW installation on Swinton Fitzwilliam School. In addition, Sheffield Renewables has conducted various work in the region to increase the awareness of solar PV as a viable energy generation method. The organisation is also pursuing investigation work into alternatives to PV where beneficial, such as potential use of hydropower.
Its first phase of activities was dedicated to the ground work of designing a website and agreeing a communication strategy for the organisation with the first board meetings held in 2009. This same year, Sheffield Renewables received a grant from Sheffield City Council and premises were obtained to house the organisation. It originally focused on hydro power as part of the Jordan Dam project, but this was put on hold in 2013 with a new focus placed on Solar PV instead.
Sheffield Renewables operates two solar PV sites in the Sheffield City Region enabling low-cost renewable electricity to be provided to the community organisations which host these sites. This in turn improves those organisation’s sustainability by not being reliant on external, expensive and polluting wholesale electricity.
All current and planned future projects rely on community shares to fund installations in the Sheffield City region.