Case Study

Generation Community – Energise Barnsley


Generation Community, a social enterprise, develops energy projects for the benefit of communities, specifically targeting low income, fuel poor and excluded areas.

Together with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Berneslai Homes, a local social landlord, Generation Community set up a Community Benefit Society (CBS) called Energise Barnsley, which will deliver 4MW of solar photovoltaic installations on social housing, schools, libraries and leisure centres. The social housing residents will benefit from electricity bill reductions of up to £150 per year. Three hundred and twenty one houses were fitted with solar panel installations, between the Feed In Tariff consultation announcement, and the government’s feed in tariff consultation response.

Ignite’s investment of up to £2m will provide a guarantee for the community share offer, which will be used to fund the initial installations. The community share offer will launch in early 2016 offering an expected annual return of 5%. The surplus income generated by the scheme, from the feed-in-tariff payments, will be used to fund local projects for Barnsley’s residents.

Through Ignite, British Gas has now become Generation Community’s preferred EPC contractor.

It is anticipated that community energy models will become an increasingly important part of the distributed energy landscape, a recent ResPublica green paper on community renewables found that the UK currently has 60 MW of community owned renewables and that the sector is expected to grow to 550 MW by 2020, based on current trends. Energise Barnsley will be the largest community solar installation in the UK.

Energise Barnsley & Ignite are award finalists at the SEUK Social Investment Deal of the Year for 2016. Watch their video here.

“There are a number of barriers to delivering community energy to scale and with meaningful social benefit to the most deserving communities. The Generation Community model leverages social and traditional investment sources and provides clear frameworks to bring the benefits of renewable energy to communities around the country, and we’re thrilled to be involved in this unique investment.” Ignite Social Enterprise LP, backed by Centrica Plc