2021 Social impact report

We are really pleased to announce the publication of our 2021 Social Impact Report.

Every year we publish a round-up of the contribution we have made during the past financial year towards the creation of an energy system that is good for people and good for the planet.

2020/21 was a record-breaking year, with:

  • 4.3 GWh of renewable electricity generated
  • £2.59 million of new investment raised to support our growing portfolio of renewables
  • 400+ new investor Members putting their savings to work supporting community-owned renewables
  • 33 low carbon community groups from across Oxfordshire joining us in community led action on climate change
  • £3.3 million of community benefit activity being delivered.

2020/21 was also the year work started on Ray Valley Solar, our first ground mount solar project. At 19 MW it will not only be the UK’s largest community-owned solar park, it will also mean a six-fold increase in our anticipated annual clean energy generation, a huge step change for us.

Innovation has been a growing theme for our work, providing innovation
grant funding and piloting new services to help householders and organisations
improve the energy performance of their buildings. These are Cosy Homes Oxfordshire for homeowners and Energy Solutions Oxfordshire for organisations.

Through Project LEO (Local Energy Oxfordshire), our renewable energy installations are becoming increasingly important for the role they are playing at the heart of our innovation work, sitting at the centre of trials to test new flexibility services.

Partnership and collaboration also continue to be key to our approach. Our work draws on the support of a growing ecosystem of community, commercial, public sector, and academic partners. Together we are seeking equitable and practical real-world solutions that put people and their needs at the heart of the energy system.

How we measure our impact

Metric 1: planet

We want to protect our warming planet with a better energy system. We do this with ‘powering up’ projects which supply renewable energy, such as our solar schools and Sandford Hydro. We also work on ‘powering down’ to reduce energy demand, with energy efficiency programmes such as OxFutures and Energy Solutions Oxfordshire for businesses and Cosy Homes Oxfordshire for homes.

Metric 2: people

Community energy is a grassroots, people-centred movement for change. The success of the Low Carbon Hub is due to the support of individuals and organisations. We can all play a part in the shift to a sustainable energy future, and that’s why we track our impact on people.

Metric 3: prosperity

Our renewable energy projects generate collective wealth through electricity sales and Feed-in tariff revenues which we distribute as:

  • a target interest to the (mostly local) investors who help fund the upfront costs of our renewable energy projects
  • discounts on electricity to schools and businesses that host our installations
  • supporting activities that deliver community benefit and help deliver further carbon cuts across Oxfordshire.

Metric 4: perception

We have a commitment to develop sustainable energy for community benefit. We aim to be a transparent and trusted partner, and to share knowledge and expertise openly.

To ensure we’re meeting this commitment we survey our stakeholders – host partners, community members, investor members, project partners – annually to see how we’re doing and how we can improve. Our last stakeholder survey was conducted in April 2021.

Thank you to our members and partners for your extraordinary support over the last 12 months! Together we can continue to put Oxfordshire at the forefront of the energy revolution.