A Gower-based solar energy provider has pledged match-funding to a Swansea group which organises apple harvesting from overlooked trees and orchards to feed those in need in the area.
The partnership with Cyfoeth y Coed/Sweet Pickings is part of Gower Power’s ongoing Community Benefits Fund work, which uses any profits from its solar farm to benefit local groups and eco projects. Gower Power has just launched a new 100 percent green energy tariff for with energy generated in Gower going to fuel up to 300 Swansea homes and businesses.
Gower Power Director, Ant Flanagan says: “Our ethos at Gower Power has always been about ploughing profits back into the local community and projects like Sweet Pickings is the kind of grassroots scheme our funding panel likes to support. Over the years Gower Power has helped to fund Mor Restaurant, Matt’s Café, Big Meadow CSA, Clydach Community Garden, Swansea Wellbeing Centre and others. And as take-up for our clean energy tariff continues, we hope to back more valuable local schemes like these.
“Sweet Pickings has set up an ingenious plan to map overlooked tree sites, harvest the fruit and distribute it to people who need it. We will match any funding they during the first week of June as part of the Crowdfunder they have set up to help their scheme come to fruition.
“We are excited to have launched our new Gower Power tariff, in partnership with Ecotricity and we have had a number of householders and businesses sign up to make the switch already. We know people in Swansea have an appetite for making simple changes that are good for the planet, and they can find out more about making the switch at Gowerpower.coop.”
Anna Williams from Cyfoeth y Coed/Sweet Pickings said: “We’re really grateful for Gower Power’s generous contribution to the crowdfunder for our project Cyfoeth y Coed / Sweet Pickings. This fundraiser covers one time setup costs that will create the foundation for future harvests at minimal cost.
“We’re doing this by creating a database of all the geographical, legal, and other information associated with fruit picking and by buying harvesting equipment such as ladders, picking poles and hard hats to use for years to come. This equipment will be housed at the Tool Library at the Environment Centre where it can be borrowed by the public at any time we’re not using it.
“We’ve been fortunate that numerous people have already sent us over 80 tree locations all over Swansea. We’ve partnered with Fare Share Cymru who will distribute, what we estimate will be approximately 3000 kg of fruit, to over 24 community organizations including Matt’s Café, the East Side Food Bank and Unity in Diversity.
“The scheme will begin to resolve the paradox that in Swansea an enormous amount of apples, and other tree fruit, are wasted every year while many people in the same city struggle to afford fresh fruit. This project creates a new, resilient, low carbon food source for Swansea and prevents the emissions caused by transporting unwanted fruit to Carmarthen as garden waste.”
Gower Power’s Solar Storage, a project made possible with support from Welsh Government Energy Service and European Regional Development Funds, will enable up to 300 local homes and businesses to be supplied with green energy from the solar farm owned 100 percent by community benefit society, Gower Regeneration Ltd. All profits from the project will be ploughed back into local grassroots community projects like Sweet Pickings.
The 1MW solar farm at Killan Fach Farm, Dunvant, began generating power on March 31st 2017 and became the first community owned solar farm in Wales after a successful share offer raised around £900,000 from ethical investors, largely in the Swansea area.
Gower Power Solar Storage has teamed up with leading green fuel provider, Ecotricity as part of the project, and they will provide the necessary customer services and billing. Ecotricity will be able to top up any electricity that isn’t generated onsite site with 100 percent renewable sources, and also offer Gower Power Solar Storage customers carbon neutralised gas.
It is expected that the solar farm will generate clean, renewable electricity for 30 years, and over time will produce a surplus of around half a million pounds.
Find out how to switch to 100 local clean energy via Gower Power here: https://www.gowerpower.coop/buy-green-energy/
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