Local couple bring a community solar energy installation to their street

Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell spent much of last Winter in a four poster bed on the roof of their house in Walthamstow, 23 nights in fact. In doing so they raised the £113,000 they needed to turn much of their street into a ‘power station.’

Two books, The Case for the Green New Deal by Ann Pettifor and People’s Power by Ashley Dawson had given them the idea to try and turn their house into a solar power station and this idea grew to incorporate other houses on the street. The pair being artists, the scale of the project wasn’t intimidating, in fact as one neighbour said at the time, ‘I knew about their previous project. So I knew they were quite good at making things happen.’

man in white dress shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on white and black solar panel

They did make things happen and this week Octopus Energy completed the installation of what they describe as their first ever community solar energy installation.

The original plan was to link all the houses in the street but the variety of house ownership models prevented this, ‘It turns out that not many people fully own their roof.’ Dan tole The Guardian last year

The scheme lets residents generate clean electricity that benefits them and their local community, save money on their energy bills and lower their carbon footprint.

The partnership started in June and in just one week Octopus has completed the installation of solar panels on all 13 houses that have joined the project so far with the potential to expand to 30 homes in total.

The solar panels will aim to reduce bills by a third. The houses who join the ‘Power Station’ will also see an average carbon reduction of 70% and help reduce costs for all bill payers by decreasing demand on the grid.

Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, Chief Product Officer at Octopus Energy Group, said: ‘This project fills me with so much joy and pride – it’s a powerful example of the tremendous impact people can have in accelerating the green energy revolution.

‘Hilary and Dan didn’t come from the energy industry, and yet they found a way to help their community move to green power and massively reduce their energy bills. We are delighted to have joined forces.’

Dan has been recognised for his efforts by being named the Samantha Heath Changemaker of the Year at the 2023  Sustainable City Awards, his citation referring to him as a ‘solar punk’.


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