Partnerships delivering community energy in Camden

Case studies and blog posts, Schools – Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Power Up North London Director, Ben Pearce, provides an update on the Hampstead solar project – a successful partnership bringing benefits to the local community and reducing carbon.

Following a successful community share offer which raised £46,000, 48kW of solar panels were installed at Hampstead School at the start of March. 

Community energy is a way in which communities can own, manage and generate renewable energy systems, which brings benefits to the local community. The approach supports the recently approved Climate Action Plan that commits Camden Council to tackle the climate emergency and includes a zero carbon 2030 goal.

The project was delivered by local community energy group, Power Up North London (PUNL), in collaboration with the school and Camden Council. PUNL is a Community Benefit Society founded in 2015 with the aim of enabling ordinary people to play an active role in supporting the transition to renewable energy. As of the first week of June, the panels had earned £702 and produced 18,475.01 kWh of electricity.

At the launch of the share offer, PUNL had to raise £46,000 by 31 January 2020 to deliver the school installation by the end of March 2020. Local people could invest anything between £250 and £4,500 with a projected 2% return. The project is estimated to save 230 tonnes of carbon over the first 20 years. The offer was over-subscribed and closed before the deadline.

Jacques Szemalikowski, Headteacher of Hampstead School, said: “I’m really proud that Hampstead is pioneering solar energy in Camden schools as it’s not only great for the environment, but also saves us money.”


Invitation to work with us
A CCCA member, PUNL partner with local organisations to deliver renewable energy projects including solar and heat technologies that support the vision for Camden and other boroughs to become zero carbon by 2030. We enable people in North London to invest in these projects, leading to a reduction in carbon emissions. PUNL invest surpluses from energy generation in the communities that generate them.

PUNL are interested in speaking to individuals or organisations to support or strategy for scaling, particularly in relation to issues including:

  • Partnerships on new projects – if you own or lease a building that could be suitable for solar panels, renewable heat, EV charging, battery storage, or energy efficiency, then we could work together to mobilise community finance and bring a project to life
  • Funding and finance – if your organisation has a CSR arm, or wishes to invest in a local, financially viable project, then we would be interested in discussing potential match funding options
  • Provision of pro bono advice or secondment of staff – we can offer a great opportunity for passionate and skilled people to put their skills to practical and impactful use
  • Events – we regularly speak at and host events to inspire others and inform them on ways to tackle the climate crisis. We have over 100 investors and a social media reach of over 1,000.

Find out more about PUNL on our website here




Camden Climate Fund
The Camden Climate Fund offered by Camden Council provides funding for community energy groups to install and manage renewable energy systems that generate or save energy for the benefit of the local community.  This includes solar photovoltaic panels (to provide electricity), solar thermal systems (to provide hot water) and other measures which can improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

The maximum funding available is £25,000 per project and applicants will be required to match-fund 50% of the cost up to (and any additional costs over) £50,000. Up to 10% of the funding can be used for detailed feasibility costs.

Eligible applicants
Local community groups in Camden with space identified as suitable to install a renewable energy or heating system. The energy or heat generated must benefit the local community in some form. The property/ land where measures will be installed must be located within the borough of Camden.

Please note you cannot apply for a Camden Climate Fund grant retrospectively, for works that have already been installed. To find out more, download the Terms and ConditionsApply online here








Ben Pearce, Society Chair (Director), Power Up North London