Today’s Observer carries an inspiring piece:
A couple of weeks ago, the Sidmouth Solar Punk site carried something similar:
Do you fancy making your own power station?
The ‘solar punks’ turning their London street into a community power station
Two artists in London are finding ingenious ways to fund a project that puts power in the hands of people. Other communities are watching with interest
It would be easy to mistake artists Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell for master magicians. For their first stunt, they made £1m of debt disappear (more on that later), and for their next trick they’re conjuring up a power station from an ordinary, east London terraced street. Not the wheezing, fossil fuel burning kind, but one fuelled by sunlight, one that prioritises people over profit, and puts power generation in the hands of the communities it serves. On course to raise £100,000 through crowdfunding, Edelstyn and Powell hope to install rooftop solar panels on dozens of homes in Walthamstow, London, with some of their neighbours getting the retrofit upgrade for free.
The project, they say, is a direct response to the government’s “lack of imagination and foresight” in dealing with climate change and the energy crisis, and a reaction to the record profits raked in by energy firms. Learning as they go and documenting their journey on film, they’re creating a blueprint for ‘solar punk’ activism that they say could be emulated by communities across the UK. “Everything’s just driven by profit and people are so trapped in making ends meet, it’s hard for them to see that there is an alternative,” says Powell. “If we’re to have an equitable future in this transition away from fossil capitalism, we can’t let renewables repeat the power games and monopolies we’ve seen in the fossil fuel industry. There has to be equitable distribution.”
Here’s more from the artists themselves:
POWER is a ‘show and do’ project building a solar POWER STATION across the rooftops (streets, schools, community buildings) of North East London via enacting a grassroots Green New Deal – working with art and infrastructure to tackle the interlinked climate/energy/cost of living crises.
It begins on one street as template and provocation literally building POWER and possibility from the ground up. Inspired by a core solar punk idea of infrastructure as resistance and power we take a leap of imagination and give ourselves the power of Government to unleash an arts led stimulus to address the big challenge of our time: printing money (our ‘Greenbacks’) to fund infrastructure and build community wealth.