Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn are the artists behind POWER, a ‘show and do’ project building a solar power station across the rooftops of Northeast London. The project aims to enact a grassroots Green New Deal (GND), working with art and infrastructure to tackle the intertwined climate, energy, and cost of living crises. The plan aims to prioritise people over profit and put power generation back into the hands of the communities.
“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.” 
The History of Powell and Edelstyn
This isn’t the first time Powell and Edelstyn have hit the headlines. Throughout 2018-2019 the pair organised a community heist on the unjust financial system, which they called Bank Job. Bank Job was a feature film and art project where Powell and Edelstyn operated out of a former Bank in Walthamstow, Northeast London printing their own banknotes/artwork and selling £40,000 worth of them. 
What is POWER?
POWER aims to retrofit (starting with solar and insulation) a London terrace street in Walthamstow and use it as a way of prompting street-by-street action at a grassroot level. POWER isn’t just another Solar Installer; they are funding the installation of solar (through a third-party installer) via the sale of ‘Green Backs’. Green Backs are a new currency for change, including printed money and artwork. The printed money includes unique designs and celebrates local heroes.
POWER states that with just over 22 million homes in the UK, installing solar panels on every dwelling would provide 60.52% of our total domestic electricity consumption. The rough cost for those solar panels would then be £133.56 billion, or roughly 3.59 track and trace systems. Although this may sound like an unachievable figure, by starting at a community level we can come together to close the gap and make a huge difference. 
Powell and Edelstyn currently have a Crowdfunder underway with a target of £100,000 to create a renewable power station across the homes on their street. While the Crowdfunder runs, they have taken to living on their roof to drum up publicity and make a statement. Many have nicknamed them the “Solar Punks” and it will be interesting to see just how their movement unfolds.
About Pager Power
Pager Power undertakes technical assessments for developers of renewable energy projects and tall buildings. For more information about what we do, please get in touch.
 Eveleigh, R. (2022) The ‘solar punks’ creating a community power station in London, Positive News. Available at: https://www.positive.news/society/the-solar-punks-building-a-london-power-station/
 Power (2022) POWER. Available at: https://www.power.film/
 Edelstyn, D. (2022) Power station, Crowdfunder UK. Available at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/power-station
 On the rooftops of London, James Roberts (January 2005) on Wikicommons. Last accessed on 8th December 2022. Available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:On_the_rooftops_of_London_-_panoramio.jpg