Walthamstow couple turn street into solar panel power station after sleeping on roof

Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell slept on their roof for 23 days in November and December (Photo by Peter Searle)
Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell slept on their roof for 23 days in November and December (Photo by Peter Searle)

A couple has raised the money to get almost their entire East London street solar panels by sleeping on their roof for 23 nights.

Dan Edelstyn and his partner Hilary Powell, from Walthamstow, moved their four-poster bed out of the comfort of their room to the roof to face the bitterly cold conditions.

The artist and filmaker’s stunt helped smash their target of £100,000 to buy solar panels for more than 35 “Power Station” households on Lynmouth Street.

The couple had canvassed their entire road to see if they were interested in “clubbing together” to get the solar panels installed at half the cost than if they did it individually.

Their project saw them put their two kids to bed each night before clambering up to kip on their roof on a cheap foam mattress under a knitted blanket for 23 nights into December.

Mr Edelstyn told The Standard: “The temperature definitely plummeted and we came down the night before the snow.

“Each night was getting worse and worse the frost was getting more intense.

“We have a big mailing list following us to raise the money. They were all really desperate to share the campaign and get us off the roof before it got too cold.”

“The jeopardy really helped”, he laughed.

“There was one night where it was raining really hard and Hilary was trying to get under the bed itself in pure desperation.

“It was unpleasant but we had to remind ourselves the pain was entirely self-inflicted. It was much less of a pain than if we were genuinely homeless.”

Neighbours brought the couple breakfast each morning while they were on the roof (Photo by Peter Searle)
Neighbours brought the couple breakfast each morning while they were on the roof (Photo by Peter Searle)

He added: “What was weird was it became our job in a way. We never slept properly on the roof, the wind was often up and we were under this horrible plastic sheet.

“During the daytime, it was really hard to concentrate on our normal working life, we have young kids and a dog. We were just exhausted.”

“For me it was a huge relief to be back inside, I found it hard but my partner Hilary misses it up on the roof.

“She was writing a journal and was really buzzing and feeling alive up there. I think she finds the comfort of having a normal bed simply boring now.”

The solar panels should be installed by the end of January, with five local schools also set to follow in May.

He added: “Each year we import £50bn of fossil fuels just to burn them. But with just two years on that budget we could be totally powered by renewables.

“It’s about decentralising who owns to the power produce energy.

“It’s a lovely place Walthamstow with a history of a radical community we have William Morris and all the other forebears. Our project is an extension of that.”

The couple also released a Christmas single to help Barn Croft Primary School own the solar panels on their roof amid budget cuts.

The song peaked at number 21 in the UK charts and they have raised just over £30,000 for Barn Croft Primary so far.

For all information on the Power Station, go to power.film and to donate to Barn Croft’s solar panels visit here.