News Walthamstow

Walthamstow couple extend solar panel project

Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell slept on their roof for 23 days to raise money for solar panels on their street

Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell of the Power Station project seen here during their 28 days living on the family house in London, 25th November 2022. Credit: Peter Searle

A couple who slept on their roof for 23 days to fund the costs of installing solar panels on every house in their street are extending their project.

Amid sub-zero temperatures in November 2022, Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell raised a total of £113,000 in their campaign to install solar panels on 35 homes in Lynmouth Road in Walthamstow. So far, 15 houses on the street have had panels installed.

The first of the solar panels were installed in July 2023 by Octopus Energy. Dan and Hilary are currently aiming to raise a further £100,000 to make “every street a power station”, and are to release a feature documentary film on the Power project later this year.

In order to raise the total, the couple printed their own art-piece currency called “Greenbacks” and offered paid memberships to their project Power, which was to assist people interested in setting up similar projects.

The Greenback notes featured the faces of local community organisers and volunteers from local charities and non-profits including Project Zero, PL84U-Al Suffa foodbank, Waltham Forest Migrant Action, and the food co-op Organic Lea.

In 2022, with the help of the organisation Solar For Schools, the couple also helped Walthamstow’s Barn Croft Primary School install its own solar panels by recording a Christmas single featuring their neighbours and school pupils. The song, You’re The Voice, reached number 21 in the UK Top 100.

This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

Dan and Hilary slept on their roof for 23 days in November 2022. Credit: Spike Visser

Speaking to the Echo at the start of the project in 2022, Dan said: “The government’s primary duty should be to protect the people but that doesn’t seem to be the case. We see ourselves as an emergency government in response to the energy crisis.”

Dan told the BBC that the project has brought his neighbours closer together: “The beauty we’ve discovered when we were flyering up and down the street, knocking on people’s doors – the horror of knocking on someone’s door to speak to them when you don’t know them – was this lovely feeling that ensued of getting to know neighbours and finding out that you’re on the same page.

“Now we’ve got the situation where we walk up and down the street and everyone seems to know each other and doing other things.”

Find out more about the project and how to support them here

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