Community Energy

Successful installation of the Downlands School Solar Project celebrated Friday 20 March 2015.

This is the first project of HKD Energy, a new Community Benefit Society whose aim is to increase the amount of renewable energy generated in in our area and to deliver benefits to the local community by demonstrating that community energy works.

Working in partnership with Downlands Community School, Hassocks, HKD Energy’s Downlands School Solar project is one of the largest school solar systems in the country:

  • £100,350 of community investment
  • 80kW of solar power (some 307 panels) on the roofs of the school and sports centre
  • Saving some 840 tonnes of carbon over the next 20 years
  • Significantly reducing the school’s energy costs
  • Enabling 6,900 pupils in coming years to learn about renewable energy first-hand
  • Supporting the school’s energy efficiency aims.

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Hassocks could save a staggering £1.7m or more a year by making all homes fully energy efficient, and by generating electricity from solar panels on our roofs, says a new HKD energy report on the village.

HKD Transition has carried out an energy audit of the village using existing government data, and come up with some exciting findings:

*If a range of energy saving measures, such as cavity wall and loft insulation, are adopted widely in Hassocks homes, gas demand in the village could be cut by around a third.

*Hassocks is well-placed for solar power, being in the sunniest part of the UK, with many homes facing south. Around half of its homes are likely to be suitable for solar panels.  These have the potential to generate between 25 and 33 per cent of current electricity use in the village.

HKD says Hassocks could generate the equivalent of all its annual current electricity needs locally from a combination of panels on homes, public buildings and solar farms.

HKD has come up with a seven point strategy for the Neighbourhood Plan which it wants the Parish Council to consider.

HKD also plans to work with local residents to help them be part of the energy plan by adopting energy saving measures described.

See the full report at HKD Energy Group, Energy in Hassocks, Jan 2014

The Energy Group was revived and re-energised at the latter end of 2013 by opportunities for community-owned renewable energy projects in our villages.  Since its AGM talk by Chris Rowland from OVESCo in November, the group has been taking part in an OVESCo-led project to help smaller and new groups like HKD to plan and study the feasibility of community-owned renewable projects.  If a funding bid is successful we will work on this during 2014, identifying potential sites for large solar schemes and working through the planning process..

Our goals are to ‘power down’ our energy use and generate more energy locally from renewable resources.  Over the last few years HKD Transition has held energy fairs to provide information and encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient and to consider investing in domestic solar energy.


The HKD Community Energy Group was formed to

  • promote energy efficiency through providing information, signposting and support
  • map the community to identify key areas where we could reduce energy use
  • create a community renewable energy map of actual and potential sites
  • investigate the potential for community-owned renewables and perhaps establish the legal entity required to develop community-owned renewable schemes
  • research interest in and opportunities for other projects such as biomass using coppiced wood, sewage and gas projects, large-scale solar farm and bulk purchase of electricity from an existing renewable electricity provider and resale to members.

See this useful info graphic for a handy way to check how energy-efficient your home is and what you can do about it.