Big Solar Co-op



Pioneer progress

Aerial view of an array designed in Open Solar

The Big Solar Pioneer programme is in full swing and the first round of proposals have been sent out to our local leads for post-FiTs solar power on sites they have suggested. We are using OpenSolar to triage sites, design solar arrays and have an arrangement to provide user feedback to Open Solar’s developers to improve the software for the UK community energy sector as a whole. During the Covid-19 lockdown over 40 possible sites for new community solar have been processed! Using smart cloud-based tools like OpenSolar for collaborative site logging means we can analyse many sites simultaneously and start moving towards our goal of rooftop community solar at scale.

Anyone is welcome to send new sites to for assessment by our volunteers (in confidence and without commitment – on all sides). We will provide a basic assessment of the site and send you a draft proposal with a design similar to the one above. We currently have capacity to look at individual sites or sets of sites and have a few slots left on the Pioneer programme. Our intern Aaron from Keele Uni will be with us until Christmas and we have been busy onboarding and training volunteer activists. Do get in touch if you would like to join the next OpenSolar training webinar 🌞

Introducing Aaron


I’m Aaron and I’m really excited to be one of the new Interns at the Big Solar Co-op.
I am currently studying a Masters’ degree in Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology at Keele University. I study this because I am passionate about finding ways to make our planet a healthier, cleaner, and greener place for all to live in. This is why I am so excited to be working with other passionate individuals on a fantastic project to help bring green energy to communities in a post-subsidy economy for green energy.

These are very strange, yet serious times amid the Covid-19 outbreak. As a nation we are having to change and adapt how we live our lives and interact with one-another each and every day. Now is a time to stay resolute and come together to rebuild once this pandemic is over. The team here at the Big Solar Co-op are working hard to keep the project moving forwards and progressing so that when we are able to interact as normal again, we can all come together to bring about real change to benefit as many societies as possible.
I am really looking forward to learning from and working with stalwarts of community energy and assisting in any way I can.

Introducing Andreea

Salut! My name is Andreea and I am working alongside Aaron as Intern for the Big Solar Co-op.

Having finished my Msc. in Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology at Keele, I am looking forward to getting involved with people sharing a common view on the future of resource use and environmental protection. It is only when the focus starts to fall on community well-being and teamwork that big-scale changes can be made at a regional and national level in the light of sustainable development; a system that can be built on rather than remade by future generations. Such steps are being taken by groups like Sharenergy, who bring the choice of more diverse energy systems and provide fun opportunities for people like myself to grow and learn about this sector of activity!

I want to help and encourage awareness of renewables use and capacity, for the benefit of the members, community and their environment.

Introducing Noël

Hi! I’m Noël Lambert, the new Coordinator (aka Project Officer) for the Big Solar Co-op and will be the main point of contact for the network across the UK as it grows.  

I have a background in community building, online systems configuration, digital strategy and technical communication. I also coordinate two local sustainability focussed community groups and am interested in food security, renewable energy and gift economy systems: 

The Ludlow Grassroots are a diverse collective of individuals interested in encouraging and enabling the local community to share resources. We provide support and information about things like local recycling facilities, repair cafes and zero waste options in the town and provoke conversation about broader environmental issues.

Incredible Edible Ludlow is a growing group of volunteers working on planting publicly harvestable fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, soft fruit and running seed/plant swap events and workshops.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with the Big Solar Co-op project and supporting the evolution of the post-subsidy community solar model ☀️ You can get in touch with me at and I’ll be keeping an eye on too. I’m also on LinkedIn if you would like to connect with me over there.

Watch this space…

Be there at the start

Big Solar Co-op: A new model for post-subsidy community solar.

Saturday 16 November, 13:30-16:30, Birmingham

We’re planning a small event for November to introduce the idea of the Big Solar Co-op and to hear from people who want to be involved – or who are intrigued by the idea and want to question, challenge and improve the concept. 

This event is open to all but is mainly aimed at people who represent existing or aspiring community solar groups. We will be holding more events in 2020 to grow our network further and to start working on specific solar sites.

For further details and to book a free place see Eventbrite. Be sure to get your free ticket by the 11th of November as space is limited!

Help us find our perfect Project Officer

Do you know anyone who is committed to fighting the climate crisis and would like to work for 3 years with some of the most inspirational solar activists in the UK setting up the Big Solar Co-op?

Give them a nudge please – we’re extending our job deadline to Monday 16 September at 1700 so there’s just enough time for them to think about it!

We need somebody really special – they don’t have to relocate to Shrewsbury, and they don’t have to be a solar expert, but they do have to be able to run events, set up training, provide support, connect with people, listen, improvise and help us organise a new community solar movement.

All the details are on Totaljobs and any prospective candidate is very welcome to email to discuss by email or set up a pre-application phonecall.





Big Solar Coop Project Officer Job advertised

Work with a UK-wide network of activists to build the community solar movement, empowering people to tackle the climate crisis with practical action in their neighbourhood.  


Sharenergy is a not-for-profit co-operative helping people to set up new community-owned renewable energy societies. Sharenergy works across the UK and across the technologies. Founded in 2011, we have worked with over 100 community energy groups and have been instrumental in establishing many successful and innovative projects.

We are recruiting a Project Officer to work on the development of the Big Solar Co-op, a new and exciting community energy project with a UK-wide scope.

The Job

The Project Officer will join the small and dedicated Sharenergy team. Working with our experienced development staff and with leading lights of the UK community energy movement across the UK you will work to develop and deliver the ambitious Big Solar Co-op project.

You will deliver a wide range of services, with support from the rest of our team where required. Key tasks will include:

  • Development of a large-scale mutually supportive network-based co-op
  • Setting up and running events and online meetings in various formats
  • Co-ordination of the training of volunteers
  • Delivery of project marketing and communications
  • Liaison with technical, legal and communications experts

The role will involve a steep learning curve as this is an ambitious project and the community solar sector is evolving at speed. You will need to be able to travel several days a week and will frequently be called upon to work outside office hours to suit volunteer schedules.


The Project Officer will need to have at least 5 years experience within the voluntary or co-operative sectors. You will need to show practical experience in setting up and running voluntary networks with diverse participants. You will have great interpersonal skills, combining professionalism and warmth.

You will need to have a good grasp of the theory and practice of renewable energy – you don’t need to be a solar expert (yet!) but you will need to be familiar with the wider sector. Prior involvement in community energy is a bonus but not a requirement.

You will have worked in a commercial or social business environment and have a good command of financial, policy and project management fundamentals.

You will need to be fired up to find practical solutions to the climate crisis.


Location: The role is based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, but we are happy to accept applications from candidates who are based elsewhere.

As we are working with community groups throughout the UK, travel for site visits and meetings is a constant aspect of the role and the successful candidate may expect to travel on 2 or 3 days a week.

Hours: Nominally normal office hours. However it is often necessary to attend meetings in the evenings and occasionally on weekends. There will be need for the occasional overnight stay. Applicants need to be flexible and willing to work around the needs of the projects.

Employment: Full-time 3–year fixed term contract, which may be renewed.

Salary:   £24,000 per annum.

Holidays: 25 days plus statutory holidays.

Notice Period: There is a 6-month probationary period during which notice period is 1 month on either side. After that a notice period of 3 months applies.

Office and Equipment: Sharenergy will supply all necessary equipment.

Expenses: All expenses are reimbursed at cost against receipts. Mileage is paid when needed but, wherever reasonably possible, employees are encouraged to use public transport.

Closing Date: Closing date for all applications is 1700 on 9 September 2019. Please apply via Totaljobs