- Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC) reaches its £2m solar bond offer target.
- This amount will fund BEC’s operating 4.568MWp solar farm near Puriton, Somerset.
- BEC is the biggest community energy company by capacity after switching on its new solar farm at Lawrence Weston.
- Its community fund and solar portfolio boosts the local area in a time of economic uncertainty.
- BEC’s crowdfunding continues with a share offer open until 31 July 2016.
Success shines on Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC) as it smashes its £2m solar bond crowdfunding target. These funds will extend BEC’s solar portfolio bringing more clean energy to the South West. BEC thanks its investors from the local area and all over the UK, who have helped it reach this impressive sum, which will be spent on financing its operating 4.6 MWp solar farm near Puriton, Somerset.
Around 350 people invested in BEC’s bonds, and this significant number of investors backing community energy illustrates that the transition to renewables continues, despite the turbulence post EU referendum, with its environmental, social and economic benefits.
This exciting news comes in the week that BEC switched on its new solar farm in Lawrence Weston, Bristol, which is already generating electricity after being built in just six weeks. After raising over £9 million for an ambitious portfolio of solar projects, the completion of this site makes BEC the largest community energy company by capacity.
Altogether BEC’s planned installations will provide 9,268 kWp of solar PV capacity, generating an average of 9,300 MWh of electricity each year; enough energy to power 2,270 average UK homes. As a non-profit community energy co-op, BEC will use income generated from its solar portfolio to fund £4 million of social projects across Greater Bristol and Somerset over the 25 years of the projects.
Solar crowdfund continues apace
BEC’s drive and determination to bring more clean energy to the region does not end with reaching this milestone. With its growing community of investors, BEC’s crowdfund continues through a share offer to help install solar panels on around 10 additional community roofs across Greater Bristol this summer, including the Kuumba Centre, the Architecture Centre and Wick’s Sports Centre. This is a one-off opportunity for these community buildings, as the Government has reduced support to solar energy after this summer.
The co-op has just completed installing solar panels on Coniston Community Centre, which will help the organisation reduce its electricity bills. This follows BEC’s successful installations earlier this year on Easton Community Centre and Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre.
How to invest
BEC’s share offer is open until 31 July. It offers up to 5% pa returns on investments of between £50 and £100,000 made before 31 July. Andy O’Brien, co-director of BEC said:
“We’re absolutely delighted to see our solar bond reach its £2m target. The BEC Board of Directors would like to thank our growing community of investors and supporters for their resounding support of community energy, especially in times of instability following the EU Referendum. Together we are proving that there is an alternative way to power our communities which passes the benefits to the environment, the local economy and individual investors.
“But our solar crowdfunding campaign doesn’t stop here. We’re aiming to install solar panels on community roofs across the city this summer, and are encouraging as many people as possible to take part in our share offer, where the minimum investment is just £50.”
Helen Holland, Bristol City Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Energy said: “Congratulations to Bristol Energy Cooperative for its crowdfunding success, helping our region make the much needed transition to a sustainable energy future. It’s wonderful to see the city’s community energy movement develop into something we can be very proud of.
“Solar projects funded by the people to benefit the local community and economy are even more vital on our path towards becoming carbon-neutral following the Brexit vote. I hope Bristolians will continue to back BEC’s solar fund-raises which support community organisations to make savings while reducing their impact on the environment. Bristol City Council will continue to do all it can to support community energy in the city.”
Find out more about BEC’s current fund-raise on their website: http://www.bristolenergy.coop and how to invest via positive investment portal, Ethex: http://www.ethex.org.uk/bristol.