The Big Lemon wins funding for Solar Bus project from M&S Energy Fund

Following a marathon six week effort from hundreds of local people, The Big Lemon and Brighton Energy Coop‘s joint Solar Bus project has won funding from the M&S Community Energy Fund to cover the roof of The Big Lemon’s bus depot in solar panels to power the new electric buses on clean green renewable energy.

The Big Lemon zero-emission electric bus

The 120 solar panels will generate 30,000kW of electricity – the equivalent of 1.8 million kettle boils. With no emissions, the Solar Buses will reduce noxious gases in some of Brighton and Hove’s most polluted areas and will power the 52 route between Woodingdean and Brighton on 100% renewable energy.

We’re thrilled to have won the regional M&S Energy Award for our Solar Bus project and would like to thank all those who voted, pledged funds and shared our story to help make it happen. This will enable us to cover the roof of our depot in solar panels so we can run our new electric buses on renewable energy.

As far as we know there is nothing quite like this in the country yet, so this award will help us push the boundaries of what is possible and bring a zero carbon, zero emissions bus service to our community.  We would like to pay tribute to the other wonderful projects in our region and wish them well in developing their plans in the future.

Tom Druitt, Managing Director

The Solar Bus project was one of 199 different applications to the scheme, 125 of which were shortlisted.  These were put to public vote for six weeks during September and October and the voting process also included the option to donate to the project via the Crowdfunding platform.

We have been overwhelmed by the amount of public support for this project and would like to say a special thank you to all those who have helped us get this far.

This is a journey of discovery, and we have discovered above all the value of partnerships. We started off with just two organisations and an idea and now have a whole community of people engaged in the project, a number of local businesses supporting it, and enough money to cover the roof of The Big Lemon’s depot in 120 solar panels – enough to run a whole bus service on renewable energy.

Will Cottrell, Chair, Brighton Energy Coop

The Solar Bus project was one of 19 regional winners, with 1549 votes, 170 pledges, and a total of £13,325 raised through crowdfunding, almost half the total amount of£28,798 raised through the scheme nationally.  The project will benefit from £12,500 funding from M&S Energy which, together with the £13,325 crowdfunding donations will fund the solar array on the roof of the bus depot.

Congratulations! A fantastic achievement

Andrew Boag, Chair, Brighton & Hove Buswatch

The project has received support from a number of local businesses including three Founding Partners: Sussex Backup Ltd, Infinity Foods and Buddies 24 Cafe, and five Founding Sponsors: Yelo Architects, Propellernet, Acumen Business Law, Ideal Glass & Glazing, and Mooncup.

sussex-backup-ltd   infinity-foods    buddies

The solar panels will be installed in the New Year and the first solar bus will go into service in the Spring of 2017.

 

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