> Clean Energy Prospector

Pioneering Community Microgrids

Clean Energy Prospector (Cepro) began in 2009 with a simple idea, to match suitable renewable energy sites with investors seeking to put their money to work doing good. The founders realised that opportunities to make a good return from solar panels, renewable heating, demand response and battery storage abounded — but seldom were property owners also the people best placed to raise the capital to invest in these opportunities.

The company now helps community energy investors apply a “third party ownership” business model to develop private smart grids incorporating large solar arrays, battery storage and renewable heating. Property owners get a low cost, low carbon, professionally maintained energy supply and investors can deploy capital into local infrastructure, increasing the resilience of local communities as well as providing a healthy financial return.

Clean Energy Prospector (Cepro) designs, builds and operates smart microgrids, comprising solar PV, heat pumps, battery storage and digital control systems, for new build housing developments as well as retrofit scenarios.

Cepro smart meter technology secures revenue streams from energy consumers via local and independent community Energy Services Companies (ESCos), removing the risk and the cost of the low carbon technologies from the balance sheet of the property owner while protecting the community investments.

In the case of new build housing this means that zero carbon homes can be sold without pushing up the sticker price, explains Damon Rand, head of product at Cepro: ‘Developers typically want to sell houses without retaining a long term interest in the site, which means the only way they can deploy low carbon technologies is to pass those costs on to house buyers – something they are normally reluctant to do. Our approach is to assemble a supply chain around a specific project and bring finance to it, so that developers are able to do more and become more low carbon without raising the cost of homes.’

 

Cepro’s microgrid solution is being piloted on two newbuild housing developments: the Water Lilies project in Bristol, delivered by developer Bright Green Futures, and Hazelmead in Bridport by developers Bridport Cohousing and Bournemouth Churches Housing Association. The first occupancies are expected in early 2022.

Although low carbon technologies required to deliver zero carbon homes are now widely available, the relatively high capital costs mean they typically pay back over long periods, of up to 20 years, which has held back investment. Out of around 130,000 homes built in the UK each year, only a fraction have solar PV installed, let alone more advanced systems like energy storage or heat pumps.

Cepro’s model encourages external investment by low carbon infrastructure suppliers, who as part of an energy service company earn ‘trading revenues’ selling power to the national wholesale market and the UK balancing mechanism. Local customers typically save 10-15% below market rate on their energy bills.

 

Clean Energy Prospector

www.cepro.co.uk
+44 117 230 0048
Ste 21a, Easton Business Centre Felix Rd, Easton
Bristol, Bristol, BS5 0HE, United Kingdom

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