Energy saving community project wins prestigious Energy Awards

Friday, 02 December 2016

Project ERIC Energy Awards 2016

Project ERIC (Energy Resources for Integrated Communities) was announced as a winner in the prestigious 2016 Energy Awards at a ceremony in London on 30 November 2016.

The project was named Residential Energy Project of the Year and was also highly commended in the Innovation Energy Project of the Year category.

The £1.2million UK Government funded project, in which Oxford Brookes University is the lead academic partner, demonstrates how distributed generation (solar PV) and smart battery storage in a community can be managed to reduce average peak grid load and increase self-consumption of local PV generated electricity across the Rose Hill estate in Oxford, benefiting both local people and the environment. ERIC has installed smart battery storage packs and electricity-generating photovoltaic panels on more than 80 homes, plus a community centre and a school. An electric car club is also part of the research and demonstration project. 

The awards have provided fantastic recognition for the hard work of the Project ERIC team and also raises awareness about the opportunities for community energy sharing schemes.

Professor Rajat Gupta, Director of the Low Carbon Building Group and Oxford Institute of Sustainable Development at Oxford Brookes University

Professor Rajat Gupta, Director of the Low Carbon Building Group and Oxford Institute of Sustainable Development, and academic lead on the project said: “We are delighted to have won and be named highly commended in the Energy Awards which are highly regarded in the industry.

“The awards have provided fantastic recognition for the hard work of the Project ERIC team and also raises awareness about the opportunities for community energy sharing schemes.”

Project ERIC was launched in January 2015 as a collaboration between Moixa Technology, Bioregional, Oxford City Council, Oxford Brookes University, GreenSquare, JoJu Solar, Re-energise, British Gas and SSEN.  

Prof Rajat Gupta and Dr Adorkor Bruce-Konuah of the Low Carbon Building Group at Oxford Brookes are responsible for monitoring and evaluating the energy savings achieved at the household and community level, and the experiences of the occupants.  

As part of the project evaluation (PDF), residents were found to be concerned about rising energy prices and believe it is important to reduce both their household energy use and the energy use of the community as a whole. 

An assessment of the household electricity use and solar PV systems revealed a wide variation in the amount of electricity used by each household, while all PV systems are performing significantly well and generating good amounts of renewable energy. 

Professor Gupta continued: “This assessment further reinforces the opportunity for a community energy share scheme in Rose Hill. The rigorous academic evaluation of the project will seek to provide the evidence for this opportunity in 2016-17 while fostering a greater understanding of energy issues.” 

Project ERIC is funded by Government’s innovation agency Innovate UK under the Localised energy systems competition. 

The Energy Awards ceremony took place at the Hilton Park Lane in London.