Renewable Energy Collective
A co-operative network of people helping one another with simple, low-impact energy solutions
What’s the Co-Op about?
Well, at the outset we’re focusing on solar water heating, i.e., solar thermal - a lovely simple technology. We’re focusing on this initially because, after insulating your house, solar water heating is pretty much a no-brainer in terms of the potential energy benefits. It’s also much easier to do than most people think, so it’s an easy win. Hopefully your neighbours will also think it’s pretty cool you have a solar panel and ask you about what you‘ve done & why you’ve done it - maybe you can even help/advise them on how to get a panel up themselves, who knows! This is pretty much what the Solar Co-Op is all about - helping us see just how easy some of these alternative energy solutions are, & encouraging us to think about our energy usage and what we can do to make it all a little bit more sustainable (a little bit less reliant on fossil fuels).
Aims & Objectives of the Co-Op:
To provide information & advice on simple, safe, & inexpensive solar water heating systems, both off-the-shelf commercial systems and of course DIY systems.
To encourage local communities to work together on small-scale renewable energy projects, helping one another by sharing skills and experience.
To encourage groups of solar enthusiasts to share tools, knowledge, experience, &, where appropriate, to bunch together when purchasing equipment to get a fair deal from your local plumbing & solar merchants.
To encourage safe DIY installation of solar water heating systems by focusing on lesser-known simple, inexpensive methods, technology and techniques.
To raise awareness of the essential safety considerations. As with most Do-It-Yourself stuff, DIY solar heating installation presents some risks which are easily addressed once you know what to look out for!
Not for Profit:
The Co-Op is not a commercial enterprise, and whilst we don’t aim to profit from any of the advice we give, we don’t aim to make a loss either. Our policy is therefore to recover fully the cost of any minimal expenditure we incur in promoting the Co-Ops aims and objectives. So e.g., if we organise a workshop, we don’t expect those running the workshop to be out of pocket - that’s just plainly unsustainable. Our aim is to get people using small scale renewable energy in their everyday lives and to share our enthusiasm – All of us together as a Co-Op can only succeed in doing this in the long term if we make sure our members are not out of pocket!
We’re not paid to promote any specific commercial supplier, e.g., of solar products or plumbing supplies. Whilst we encourage DIYers to make their own gear where possible, where someone just wants to keep it simple & install something off-the-shelf, we’re keen people use a variety of suppliers and then let us know how they get along. How else would we learn which suppliers are best? Where, from first-hand experience or from that of other energy DIYers, we identify a supplier who offers good value products & a good support service, we’ll post a link to their site, etc. If a supplier wants to offer our members a good deal on bulk purchasing of solar, plumbing or other interesting products all the better!