Community energy solar projects raise record £7.8 million in month as Treasury removes EIS tax relief for clean-energy investments


Mongoose Energy cooperatives make up five of top six funds and raised over £4.8 million

A record £7.825 million has been invested in community energy solar projects by the British public in the month following the Treasury’s removal of Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief on community energy projects.

15 community benefit societies (bencoms) running solar projects across the UK have announced their fundraising totals, with four funds securing investments of over £1 million for their share offers.

With £4.810 million, funds run in association with community energy investment firm Mongoose Energy made up 61% of all funds raised for solar community projects and its five funds were all in the top six.

Topping the list of bencoms were Sussex’s Meadow Blue and Bath and West, which respectively raised £1.248 and £1.243 million. Nottinghamshire Community Energy followed closely behind with £1.171 million. Edinburgh Community Energy, with £1 million, completes the top four.

Jan Willem Bode of Mongoose Energy – which worked with Meadow Blue, Bath and West, and Nottinghamshire – said: “This exceptional rate of investment in community renewable projects shows there is wide-scale support for community energy to be a significant player in the industry in the UK. With it happening within a week of the announced plan to shut coal-fired stations, I think we will look back at this moment and realise this is the beginning of truly locally owned, low carbon power.

”While the removal of EIS is an odd blow for George Osborne to land on the same day as the UN Climate Change Conference, it has helped to raise awareness and interest in these opportunities and these investment figures shows that people want to invest in ethical, local energy sources.”

The UK’s community energy solar projects raised 7.8 million in November 2015. This interactive graphic is also available as a high-res jpg download – image credit Mongoose Energy. 

Jamie Hartzell, chair of ethical investment platform, Ethex, says: “We are really pleased to see the huge groundswell of support for these schemes over recent weeks. Over a third of the total investment raised — £4.8million – was in to the six share offers listed on Ethex. Last Wednesday we saw over £1 million investment raised in just 24 hours! It has involved a lot of hard work – well done to all those concerned. We hope this interest continues with the new share offers we have listed on Ethex the first week of December, albeit without tax reliefs.”

Emma Bridge of Community Energy England said: “Community Energy plays a key part in helping to add renewable energy capacity whilst also enabling programmes such as those that reduce energy poverty. This investment level is fantastic and really demonstrates the level of support that there is for community renewables and the extra benefits it brings.”

The 15 solar projects to announce their figures are:

Location Community Benefit society Capacity Target Return Amount raised (£)
West Sussex Meadow Blue Community Energy 5MWp 7% 1,247,587
Bath Bath and West Community Energy 250kWp 7% 1,243,150
Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire Community Energy 5MWp 7% 1,171,600
Edinburgh Edinburgh Solar Cooperative 1.5MWp 5% 1,000,000
Bristol Bristol Energy Cooperative 9.3MWp 5% 621,729
Kent Orchard Solar 5MWp 7% 526,000
Shropshire Nadder Community Energy 440KWp 5% 476,500
Exeter Exeter Community Energy 300kWp 5% 390,000
Dorset Dorset Community Energy 290kWp 7.40% 352,200
London South East London 200kWp 4% 250,000
Leicestershire Harborough Energy 5MWp 5% 183,600
Milton Keynes Wolverton Community Energy TBC 5.50% 182,884
Maidenhead Maid Energy 90KWp 4.30% 97,950
Shropshire Pomona Solar 50kWp 5.85% 70,000
Swansea Gower Power TBC 6.50% 12,400