Calleva Community Energy Co-op in Berkshire is inviting investors to buy shares in the co-operative in order to help local businesses become greener – while also helping to tackle fuel poverty in the region.
The co-op has been set up to raise £412,000 to install solar panels on the roofs and offices of three light industrial buildings in Calleva Business Park, Aldermaston.
The project was established by the directors of two businesses operating on the park, Richard Howard and Mike Larocque, who were looking to curb unnecessary energy wastage from their offices.
Larocque, director of Calleva Community Energy, said, “We realised that thanks to the government feed-in tariff, we could generate enough revenue from installing solar photovoltaic (PV) on the roofs of the buildings to implement energy efficiency measures such as loft insulation.
“There would be enough money left over to help alleviate fuel poverty across our community, which stretches from Reading to Basingstoke and Newbury.”
Shares are being offered at a minimum price of £250 through the ethical investment website Ethex – which is designed to make it easier to invest in socially responsible businesses. The annual return for investment is currently set at 7% over a 15-year period.
Lisa Ashford, director of Ethex, said, “It’s a truly innovative scheme which can drive both renewable energy and energy efficiency into the business park whilst benefiting local people and generating a 7% return for members of the co-op. That’s a win-win scenario.”
The co-op has already raised 80% of its desired amount – guaranteeing that at least two out of three of the solar PV projects go ahead.
Investors have until July 17th to apply for shares – with a total of 300 kilowatts (kW) of solar PV to be installed. The scheme is set to save around 150 tons of carbon a year and reduce energy bills for the companies by a quarter.
Jane Grindey, director of Calleva Community Energy, said, “The impact of the project will be felt well beyond the business park, as people who work here will become more engaged with their energy usage and use that knowledge to help reduce energy consumption and bills at home.”
Photo source: Bernd Sieker via Flickr