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First solar panels installed by South Wales co-operative

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A renewable energy co-operative in Newport, South Wales, has successfully installed its first solar panels on the roofs of fuel-poor houses in the area.

The project, which is co-ordinated by Gen Community, has so far raised £205,000 from 75 investors. London-based Bright Funding has pledged to bring that figure up to £390,000, but the share offer has been extended until February 25.

Gen Community is also in talks to receive debt investment from a number of social businesses – allowing it to install solar panels on more houses throughout Newport.

The overall target for the share offer is £1m. Would-be investors can pledge anything between £500 and £20,000, and can expect a yearly return of around 7%.

One such investor, Cathy – retired and from Scarborough in North Yorkshire – said, “I’m in Greenpeace and have never bought a share in my life before.

My roof is not south facing, but I want to contribute. Given the low returns on offer at the banks, I am happy to make an investment.”

Another – Sandra from London – said, “I am renting an ex-council flat, and cannot install solar PV.

The Gen Community offer is an energy related impact investment I am looking for. I am happy that someone else is directly benefitting, whilst I am getting a fair return.”

The solar panels will produce some 631 megawatt hours of electricity (enough for over 200 homes) and is expected to reduce bills by around £38,000 a year in the Newport area.

For more information and to enquire about investing, visit the dedicated page on Gen Community’s website.

Further reading:

Solar panels set for installation as co-operative hits funding threshold

Community renewables: creating sustainable wealth with values

Harnessing the power of a community

Manifesto published to accelerate ‘community energy revolution’

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy

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