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Solar Array Community Investment Launched



A solar array being built near Crewkerne in Somerset could soon be owned by the community. That’s after the launch of a share and bond offer from Bath and West Community Energy (BWCE). The solar array is forecast to generate enough electricity to power around 1,650 homes.

The bond is forecast to deliver 5% return a year (5.5% for BWCE shareholders) and 7% to those buying shares. The company has returned 7% a year on its shares for its previous four years.

BWCE is an award-winning community enterprise and is seeking to raise £2.63 million through the bond and share offers. BWCE will be investing these funds alongside a Triodos Bank loan of £3.33 million to purchase and develop the solar array.

The added capacity takes BWCE’s total to 12MWp, the equivalent annual electricity demand of around 3,900 typical homes. It will give BWCE the UK’s largest generation capacity of any community-owned benefit society.

Pete Capener, MBE and chair of Bath and West Community Energy, said: “We expect this investment to appeal to the public as it has the option of short term investment with bonds and medium to long term with the shares. We are proud to have hit our target interest payment of 7% in every one of the four years since our first share offer in 2011.

“In addition, we have seen our vision of community energy taking shape as we have made donations totalling £75,000 to our community fund, which have allocated to grants for local community carbon reduction and fuel poverty projects.”

To deliver the scheme, BWCE is partnering with Mongoose Energy and South Somerset Community Energy Society (SSCES). Mongoose Energy is one of the UK’s leading community energy firms and was established to help community groups identify, develop, finance, build and manage community-owned renewable energy projects.

JW Bode, CEO of Mongoose Energy, said: “The rise of community energy shares and bonds have proven to be popular with our investors, with this being BWCE’s sixth fundraiser open to public investment. For each, BWCE has either reached its fundraising target on or ahead of time.

“The Bath and Bristol region is repeatedly cited as being among the UK’s biggest investors in positive investments and we continue to see an appetite for investment into local clean energy projects that offers a reasonable rate of return as well as the benefit of a social dividend.”

The bond is in the form of a loan to BWCE and will pay a return on the investment of 5% a year for two years (5.5% for BWCE and members of its partner organisations) with interest paid annually.

By buying shares, investors can become a member of BWCE, which has paid its members interest on their investment of 7% in each of the four years since its first share offer.

BWCE will issue the first wave of shares and bonds to investors whose applications have been received by 7 June 2016, with interest being earned from the date the shares or bonds are issued, allowing investors the chance to start earning interest earlier.

The bond and share offers are currently open for applications and close on Tuesday 12 July 2016.

For full investment details of the scheme visit Ethex, the positive investment and savings platform, website.

BWCE will be holding a series of events in the area where potential investors can hear about the scheme and BWCE’s future plans. Company directors and existing investors will be present to answer questions. Full details can be found on BWCE’s website along with more information about BWCE and the forthcoming bond and share offers.

Photograph: BWCE


These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey 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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