Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC) is celebrating reaching an impressive £2 million to bring the renewables revolution to Bristol and the South West. Thanks to huge support both locally and nationally, BEC’s solar projects are even closer to reality with investors raising record sums in this exciting crowdfunding campaign.
This £2 million milestone has been raised through bond and share offers, which will now be extended until 3 May 2016 to give even more investors the opportunity to contribute to the development of clean, community-based energy.
The campaign has created a real word of mouth buzz with referrals being the biggest driver for investing via positive investment platform, Ethex.
The funds raised will finance the purchase of an operational 4.6MWp solar array at Puriton, Somerset, build a solar park near Lawrence Weston, Bristol and install solar panels on 19 community buildings across Bristol.
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Raised by the community, for the community
On the completion of this crowdfunding campaign, a community benefit fund of £100,000 will be available to local groups. Surplus profits from BEC’s solar projects are reinvested into this community benefit fund, and BEC is encouraging people to register their interest. At a time when community funding is at a premium, this is a valuable opportunity for organisations, and yet another good reason for backing the BEC campaign.
In addition to the initial £100,000 community fund, £70,000 per year will then flow from BEC into the fund reaching a total of up to £4 million. The funds will be used for community projects that reflect BEC’s core values and positive impact.
BEC’s bond is a two-year product that gives expected returns of 6% per annum, repaid after two years. Upon completion, investors have the option to cash in their bonds, extend them beyond two years at 5% per annum, or to convert them into shares. Investors can also opt for a longer term investment through a share offer with 5% projected interest over 25 years and a minimum investment of £50.
Local investment put into action
BEC has wasted no time in putting this £2 million into action to make a difference. Solar panels have been installed at Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre and Easton Community Centre. The latter building has already benefitted from a previous BEC fund-raise and, along with other initiatives, saved 50% on its energy costs.
Andy O’Brien, co-director of Bristol Energy Cooperative said:
“We are delighted to have reached the £2 million landmark in such a short time frame, and would like to thank all our investors and supporters for backing our campaign so wholeheartedly.
“It is an incredible achievement, and testament to the fact that people want to power our communities differently. Rather than being in the hands of the “big six”, community energy puts energy into local control as well as offering a return on investment. Our crowdfunding success puts BEC at the heart of this renewable energy revolution with Bristol and the South West leading the way.”
For bond offer investor, Liz Larkin:
“I feel it is critical to take climate change seriously and for each of us to do what we can to start tipping the balance in favour of a better future for us and for our children. I have invested in Bristol Energy Co-op because it is well run and is taking practical action right now that will benefit us all.”
For investor, Tyrone Probert:
“The Bristol Energy Co-op is empowering normal people to make a real difference to a carbon free future so this is a phenomenal shift in how we can stop talking and take action without waiting on government.”
For further information on this crowdfunding solar project and how to invest, visit: www.ethex.org.uk/Bristolbond or www.bristolenergy.coop. Community groups in Bristol and Somerset can register their interest in the £100,000 community fund by emailing: [email protected]