A scheme to take a Shropshire solar farm into community ownership offers an ideal opportunity for county businesses to make a long-term ethical investment, the society behind the offer has said.
Community Benefit Society Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE) says its share offer for Twemlows solar farm gives companies the chance to demonstrate their environmental credentials, help generate vital funds for their local community and receive a targeted six per cent return on their investment.
STCE has already raised more than £150,000 less than a month after launching its share offer in Twemlows, a 10MW solar farm on the edge of Whitchurch which can power the equivalent of 3,400 homes.
Dave Green, from STCE, said businesses would benefit in a number of ways from investing in the offer, which remains open until the end of October.
“We believe the Twemlows share offer represents the perfect opportunity for businesses to invest in something which helps the environment, makes a real contribution to fighting climate change, generates funding for a wide range of community projects and also offers a fair target return for their investment.
“At a time when companies are increasingly being judged on their corporate social responsibility and their ESG – environmental, social and governance – this is the perfect chance for them to make a real contribution to the planet and their community.”
Since it began operating in 2016, Twemlows has helped save more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and generated nearly £100,000 of community funding to date.
Dave added: “Bringing Twemlows into community ownership will not only guarantee the environmental benefits of renewable power for the lifetime of the solar farm, it will enable us to distribute around £4.5million in community benefit over the next 18 years.
“That – and the six per cent targeted return – is a real win-win for any company which chooses to invest.”
Investments start from £250 with a £100,000 ceiling and generate an interest-only return for the first five years, moving to a return of capital plus interest in years six to ten.
Each investor becomes a member of STCE on a one-member one-vote basis.
STCE is one of five community energy groups from across England and Wales to have joined forces under the Community Energy Together banner to launch share offers for a total of seven operational solar farms in the first scheme of its kind in the UK.
Overall, the Community Energy Together programme will save a combined 317,000 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetimes of the solar farms, which have a collective capacity of 36MW – enough to power the equivalent of 12,750 homes.
Bringing the seven solar farms into community ownership will increase the capacity of community owned solar energy in England and Wales by approximately 20 per cent. Over the projects’ lifetime it will generate a collective community benefit fund of around £20 million to support local social and environmental projects and develop new community renewable projects.
The Twemlows share offer is now live on positive investment platform Ethex here: https://www.ethex.org.uk/invest/stce