Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) has been shortlisted in the UK Social Enterprise Award, recognising it as one of the leading social enterprises in the country.

ECOE is a finalist in the Environmental Social Enterprise category. It uses income from its ten solar power installations to bring about practical change in our community by addressing energy related challenges. ECOE hopes these sites will return over £170,000 to the community through its community fund over their 20-year lifespans.

The shortlisting celebrates outstanding achievements during 2020’s pandemic challenges.  From September 2020-March 2021, ECOE’s Healthy Homes for Wellbeing anti-fuel poverty project helped 1145 households to save over £1m collectively, nearly £900 per household on average. ECOE returned nearly £20,500 in interest to its members – primarily members of the local community – for the investments they made to set up the organisation. In 2019/2020 ECOE awarded £6,990 to 11 community groups through its ECOE community fund, to fight climate change and fuel poverty. This year’s ECOE community fund remains open to applicants – visit https://www.ecoe.org.uk/ or email lenka@ecoe.org.uk for more details.

In 2020 ECOE’s renewable energy generation prevented the emission of 88 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the emissions from 20 petrol-powered vehicles for a whole year. So far in its existence, ECOE has generated 1.59GWh of electricity, and saved 567 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The UK Social Enterprise Awards run by Social Enterprise UK, the national membership body for social enterprises, recognise the nation’s most pioneering social enterprises. ECOE will be joining other shortlisted organisations at the prestigious awards ceremony held at London’s iconic Guildhall on 8 December.

Commenting on being shortlisted, ECOE director Andy Extance said:

Following the recent release of the IPCC’s big climate change report, we’ve heard about a lot of people becoming despondent about the state of the world. However community energy groups like ECOE give local people the chance to do something practical. We at ECOE are delighted that our continuing success in driving positive change has been recognised by another award nomination. However, this is all about our community. Our success is just a reflection of the work of our team, the backing of our members and supporters, and the great relationships with our partners.

Commenting on the Awards, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK Peter Holbrook said:

The UK Social Enterprise Awards are back, bigger and better than ever before. We have had a record number of applications this year, all of which have showcased the strength, dynamism and resilience of the social enterprise community through what’s been an incredibly difficult and uncertain period. Over the course of the pandemic social enterprises have been going above and beyond the call of duty to support their teams, the individuals, and communities they work with, showing the grit, determination and innovation so inherent to this sector. They’ve been operating directly on the frontline of the crisis, launching new products and pivoting their business models to meet the needs of communities and society as a whole. The Awards are all about celebrating the achievements of the UK’s social enterprise movement, which is showing us that another way of doing business is possible – one which has never been more important as we look to build back better and address the climate emergency.



For more information please contact Andy Extance andy@ecoe.org.uk, 07788 582024. Image available at this link. Caption: ECOE’s Margaret Pickering (left) and Andy Extance (front), SOL Electrical’s Simon Lord (centre) and Westbank’s Justin Milton (right) stand with some of ECOE’s newest panels. Credit: ECOE

About Exeter Community Energy (ECOE)

Exeter Community Energy was established by eight local people in 2014 brought together by Transition Exeter’s energy group. Our vision is for renewable energy projects to bring practical change in our community by addressing energy related challenges.

As of 2021, we have two major activities. First, we generate renewable electricity on the rooftops of community buildings. We sell that electricity to the buildings at a reduced price compared to their main electricity supplier. We also make income from renewable energy subsidies and selling electricity to the grid. Our second activity is Healthy Homes for Wellbeing, a project that seeks to support people in fuel poverty. We work with various partners, primarily gaining funding through the Energy Company Obligation, a government scheme to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. We also work with Western Power Distribution, as reducing energy consumption reduces strain on its infrastructure.

Visit: https://www.ecoe.org.uk/

About social enterprises

Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social purpose that reinvest or donate over half their profits to further this social or environmental mission. They are an increasingly important part of the UK economy contributing £60 billion and employing 2 million people. Estimates are there are 100,000 in the UK. Research carried out by Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for the sector, shows they are outperforming traditional businesses when it comes to start-up rates, turnover growth and innovation. They are also ahead of the pack when it comes to workforce diversity and pay. For more information and statistics see Social Enterprise UK’s and the ‘Hidden Revolution’ report which showed the true scale and impact of the sector. 

About Social Enterprise UK

Social Enterprise UK is the largest network of certified social enterprises in the UK and the leading global authority on social enterprises. Together with our members we are the voice for the sector. We have led public policy for 15 years, helping pass the Social Value Act, and are a strategic partner to government. We exist to increase the profile of the sector through our campaigns and research, and build the markets for our members – working with some of the UK’s biggest companies to support them to bring social enterprises into their supply chains. Our members reflect the diversity of the sector ranging from local grass-roots organisations to multi-million-pound businesses. We see social enterprise as the future of business.

Visit: www.socialenterprise.org.uk

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