PRESS RELEASE - Community Energy group use award to fund solar on Plymouth Shekinah centre

One of Plymouth’s social enterprise success stories, Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), a local Community Benefit Society borne from a Plymouth City Council initiative, has used recent award winnings to fund a solar panel installation on the Shekinah drop in centre.

In July, PEC’s work tackling environmental and social injustice through giving the people of Plymouth the power to change how they buy, use and generate energy was recognised, once again, on a national level. PEC received the prestigious Observer Ethical Award for Best Community Energy Group, sponsored by National Grid. The award also included a £5000 cash prize.

The busy team at PEC quickly set about discussing how to spend the winnings with maximum community benefit. As part of their ongoing community solar project to install solar PV using community shares and Council loan finance on 29 schools and community buildings, they had previously undertaken a feasibility assessment on the Shekinah drop-in centre on Bath Street.

“We really wanted to help Shekinah but their roof was too small to be financially viable for inclusion in our larger community funded project”, says Jon Selman, Renewables Advisor to PEC, “We had some spare solar panels from a previous installation which we wanted to see used and saw our award winnings as the perfect opportunity. What better way for us to benefit the members of our community that need it most than to help such a valuable Plymouth service”.

Shekinah is a Devon-based charity that provides opportunities for people in recovery. The Centre receives around 50 adults a day and is often the first point of contact for many people setting out on their journey of recovery. The project provides a safe environment with a wide range of support services for the homeless, those with alcohol/drug misuse issues, ex-offenders and otherwise socially disadvantaged adults.

John Hamblin, Chief Executive of Shekinah said “This is another great example of groups working together to benefit some of the most vulnerable people in our local community. Anything that can help us become more efficient, whilst at the same time contribute the growing green agenda, can only be a positive thing.”

Local company, Hyde Park Electrical are installing the panels; they have already partnered with PEC on a number of community-owned solar installations.

PEC now has over 1100 members and helps Plymouth residents reduce energy bills, become more energy efficient and generate community owned renewable energy by providing a range of services. For further information on PEC’s free fuel debt advice service, home advice visits from their Energy Team, supplier switching service, training and volunteer programme, insulation and boiler assistance programmes and community-owned solar projects, visit

For further information on the work of Shekinah in Plymouth, visit

See this article in the Plymouth Herald here.

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