Last week, members of the OnGen Team attended the CARES Conference 2023: Community Action on Renewable Energy, hosted by Local Energy Scotland, an OnGen customer. CARES is The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme that supports communities across Scotland to access the benefits of the energy transition to net zero.
OnGen and Local Energy Scotland Partnership
OnGen is delighted to work alongside Local Energy Scotland, providing the groundbreaking OnGen Expert platform to help them reach communities across Scotland on their decarbonisation journey. There are currently around 8000 non-domestic properties eligible for CARES funding and with the help of OnGen, this could result in a massive amount of carbon and cost savings.
By working alongside CARES, OnGen Expert will help streamline the process for assessing and deploying onsite renewable energy solutions for eligible businesses interested in applying and acting on decarbonising their community buildings.
Workshops and Panel Discussions
During the event, there were a variety of panel sessions where we heard from different speakers. Topics were centred around community energy ranging from innovative solutions, heat pumps, decarbonisation of community buildings and place-based climate action, and how CARES has helped support some of these projects.
We heard from Sharon Gemmel of Parklea Branching Out and she shared her story on how CARES has helped fund several energy efficiency projects including a biomass boiler that replaced their old gas boiler, and a recently installed air source heat pump. There are plans for the installation of a ground source heat pump which will be funded predominantly through CARES. Without CARES, many organisations like Parklea Branching Out wouldn’t have the financial means to carry out decarbonisation on this scale.
Bruce Newlands from Inverclyde Shed spoke about the journey that the community group went through to transform a derelict factory building into a highly energy-efficient space. The building is a great example of how co-locating a battery and solar PV can generate electricity for the morning, right through to the sessions in the evening.
Alastair Balfour brought a different case study to the discussion, demonstrating the advanced net zero carbon energy system at the new Thomas Graham Community Library. Both were great examples of how community groups can flourish by coming together and engaging with onsite renewables to decarbonise key buildings in the local area.
Ian Heron from Mitsubishi Electric spoke about how air source heat pumps work. He highlighted what needs to be done to optimise performance, including maximising the energy efficiency of buildings. Air source heat pumps are up to 350% more efficient than the typical gas boiler, even in sub-zero temperatures, further pushing the case for replacing gas boilers with heat pumps.
Ben Whittle from Energy Saving Trust highlighted that combining multiple technologies such as solar PV, battery and heat pumps will result in significant carbon savings. At present, only 6% of the market share is made up of heating technologies and if the UK government aims to install 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028, more investment into this low-carbon technology must be mobilised.
OnGen Expert – A Simple, Cost-effective Solution
OnGen Expert is well equipped to take part in reaching the 600,000 heat pumps milestone and with Version 2 of the software on the horizon, multi-technology optimisation just got much simpler; with just a few clicks, your site will be assessed for 10 technologies and different co-location options. The case for onsite renewables has never been stronger and there is huge potential for OnGen Expert to help communities across Scotland to decarbonise their buildings. OnGen has already helped the likes of the Midlands Net Zero Hub, the NHS, and local authorities to assess onsite renewable generation. With the next ESOS compliance date creeping in within the next 9 months, there is now even more reason to get on top of your energy efficiency and net zero goals.
Get in touch with OnGen today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our dedicated renewable energy experts will be happy to discuss how OnGen can help your business.