City law firms buying solar power from rural homeowners to meet net zero targets

solar panels
solar panels

City of London law firms are buying green power from British countryside homes to help meet net zero targets.

The chief of Good Energy, which buys electricity from rural generators and sells it to companies, said law firms are flocking to use its service to boost their green credentials.

Nigel Pocklington said: “We also have about 10,000 business customers, especially big City law firms who aspire to be carbon neutral.”

The niche energy supplier buys electricity from community wind power projects and people with solar panels on their roofs.

Buyers of the energy include the Bar Council, the London-based association of barristers, and Doughty Street legal chambers, whose current members include Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer, and once included Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader.

Good Energy is also partnered with the Legal Sustainability Alliance, which counts major law firms Clifford Chance and Norton Rose Fulbright among its members.

The company was founded in 1997 by Juliet Davenport OBE as one of the first companies offering 100pc renewable electricity. It played a pioneering role in the development of the renewable energy market and invested heavily in its own network of wind and solar assets.

However, it sold off those assets in 2022 to National Grid to pay off debts it had run up during its expansion.

It now acts as an energy services company, buying and selling renewable electricity and “greener gas” to customers.

Its 1,700 power generators are often in remote places such as the Cwm Cadian hydropower project in Snowdonia, which uses a river to spin a turbine that produces enough electricity for 100 homes.

Others include the Albourne vineyard in Sussex where founders Alison Nightingale and Nick Cooper have installed solar panels to power their operations but also to export surplus energy to the grid.

Good Energy also installs solar panels, offering to buy electricity from customers who generate surplus power up to 20 pence per kilowatt hour.

Mr Pocklington said: “We think about 20pc of the UK’s population will pay extra for green energy as a priority.”

The company’s half-yearly results show profits rose to £32.7m in the first half of 2023 compared with £12.2m in the same period last year.

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