AURORA Forest of Dean attends the Big Solar Gathering


In November, members of the AURORA Forest of Dean (AURORA FOD) team from Forest of Dean District Council and the Centre for Sustainable Energy attended the Big Solar Gathering in Gloucester. bringing together volunteers and supporters to share learning and give progress updates.

This is an annual event hosted by Big Solar Coop – a national cooperative with the aim of accelerating the installation of community owned rooftop solar PV on commercial and community buildings across the UK. Their projects are funded from community investment, and they are supported by volunteers across the country who dedicate time to identifying potential sites, engaging with building owners and designing systems.

AURORA Forest of Dean and the Forest Community Energy group is currently working with Big Solar Coop to support the development and installation of community owned solar PV in the Forest – 62 KW array on a local leisure centre and a 246 KW array on a school.

Despite stormy weather affecting the train lines (common British autumn weather!), the event was well attended, and the agenda was packed with fantastic talks, speakers and workshops. One speaker was Scott McDaniel from Meyer Burger who spoke about their ethical and sustainable PV panels made in Germany, the same panels that will be used in the Forest of Dean.

Credit: Aaron Child @ Painted Life

The event was also a great opportunity to raise awareness of the great work happening in the Forest of Dean and the AURORA programme more generally. The team were able to speak about the project on a panel discussion about community energy groups working with Big Solar Coop, and also demonstrated the AURORA Energy Tracker app in a workshop about using digital tools to drive forward solar projects and engage people on energy.

Emma-Jayne Williams from the Forest of Dean District Council meets Scott McDaniel from Meyer Burger - manufacturer of ethical PV panels | Credit: Aaron Child @ Painted Life

It was great to see so much enthusiasm for the work happening with our energy community and their partnership with Big Solar Coop and the AURORA app – some people even downloaded it right there and then! We’re grateful to be partnering with Big Solar, and we’re excited to see this partnership grow in 2024 with the successful raising of community shares in the Forest of Dean, completion of the solar installations, and development of new potential projects in the area” – Megan Blyth, AURORA Project Manager, Centre for Sustainable Energy. 

To see the outputs from this event, visit their website.

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