Green power innovators Octopus Energy have completed their first ever venture into community energy, by roofing more than a dozen homes in one East London street with solar panels.

Aggregating residents into their own local green power plant was the idea of artists Hilary Powell & Daniel Edelstyn.

The couple took their notion of one ordinary street turning itself into a generating plant to the electricity firm.

Then Hillary and Daniel took to the tiles, sleeping out on their own roof in Lynmouth Road, Walthamstow to raise £133,000 from neighbours for a street full of solar.

The result, now completed, is the E17 community’s ‘POWER STATION’ project. It seeks to have many houses as possible in one street combining to make a virtual, stand-alone power plant.

Families saving money on bills, lowering their carbon footprint and putting cash back into community projects, – possibly including energy advice to fuel-poor families -, are the benefits which folk in Lynmouth Street now contemplate.

The partnership took shape earlier this month, as 13 houses already persuaded by Hilary and Daniel signed up. In one week Octopus completed the installation of solar kit on all 13.  The initiative, say the partners, has potential to expand to 30 dwellings.

Given the orientation and shading of Lynmouth Street’s Edwardian terraced houses, their new solar roofs mean most now can look forward to cutting electricity bills by a third or more.

Walthamstow householders who join the community-focused venture will also see as much as 70% cut from their homes’ carbon footprint.

If neighbouring streets join in to ease demand on the grid, similar mass solar retrofits can, say the scheme’s backers, even ease network fees hidden in household bills.

During this second week of Community Energy Fortnight across the UK, Octopus says it is committed to work with communities, by helping them use and benefit from renewable energy.

Joy and pride

The company pioneered its ‘Fan Club’ tariff in 2021. That scheme means customers living near a good site for a wind turbine are offered cheaper energy when the wind blows.

Walthamstow artists Hillary and Daniel’s vision of their neighbourhood ‘power station’ matches, says the firm, Octopus’s commitment to building greener, fairer generation. The supplier sees its experience in east London as its chance to test the viability of more community-led solar projects.

“This project fills me with so much joy and pride”, said Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, Octopus’ head of products.

“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.”


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