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Southill Solar Farm gets Green Light

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A world-leading solar company has pledged construction finance to Southill community solar farm. The pledge from Solarcentury now means the project will definitely go ahead. Construction of the project is expected to begin this summer.

With the latest government statistics showing support for solar is at record highs, the future of Southill community solar farm near Charlbury has been assured as world-leading solar business Solarcentury has agreed to provide construction finance.

Construction work will start in July so the solar farm should be generating power by September. The directors of Southill Community Energy have therefore decided to extend the share offer during construction to May 31, to allow more people to invest.

Liz Reason, Director at Southill Community Energy, said: “We’re very grateful to Solarcentury, a fantastic British business which is a world-leader in solar technology, for supporting our project by providing construction finance. This makes our financial model even stronger and gives added confidence to investors that 100 per cent of their money will be used to see the solar farm through to success.

“Solar is now officially the most popular renewable energy technology in the UK, and we’ve been thrilled with the strong local response we’ve had to our share offer so far. We’ve extended the offer to give more people the chance do something positive for climate change, their local community and earn a fair return of five per cent.”

Over £970,000 has already been invested in the project, which has a target fundraise of £1.4 million, with 80 per cent coming from people within Oxfordshire, although the project has also attracted investment from as far afield as Spain and Germany. The youngest investor is 16 and the oldest is 87. In addition to the construction finance from Solarcentury, bank funding, loans from other co-operatives and an underwriting facility from social impact investors Resonance will make up the balance of the £4.1 million construction costs.

The projected average annual return to investors is five percent over the 25 year lifetime of the solar farm. The minimum investment is £250 and the maximum is £100,000. SCE will also return around £750,000 over the solar farm’s lifetime to the local community to support schemes tackling fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

Southill attracted national headlines when Prime Minister David Cameron recently endorsed the solar farm, applauding local people’s enthusiasm for community solar and highlighting the importance of the technology in the UK’s energy mix.

Southill Community Energy, a community benefit society, launched its share offer in February to fund construction of the 4.5 MegaWatt community solar farm on the Cornbury Park estate, just outside Charlbury, Oxfordshire.

It will generate enough electricity for around 1100 typical homes – equivalent to most of the houses in the three closest settlements of Charlbury, Finstock and Fawler. It will also be used to promote biodiversity with a bespoke ecological plan including planting fruit trees and wildflower meadows nearby and Southill honey.

The solar farm was granted planning consent in July 2015. It has been pre-accredited for the Feed-in Tariff and will be one of the last community solar schemes to be guaranteed the subsidy since government support was slashed at the start of the year.

Investing is quick and easy via the online positive investment and savings platform here. Alternatively investors can complete an application form in the share offer document which can be downloaded from the website.

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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