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Sussex energy cooperative responds to Government EIS tax changes, launches 5MW solar fund to beat 30th November cut-off



To power 1,300 homes and raise £4m for local energy-poverty / biodiversity projects. Cooperative seeks £640k, offers 30% EIS tax relief and 7% projected annual returns on investments

Plans for a solar farm in Merston, near Chichester, have been announced. The site will provide clean electricity for 1,340 homes, save 2,028 tonnes of CO2 annually and see £4 million raised for local initiatives over 25 years.

The 5MW solar array will be run by the locally based Meadow Blue Community Energy cooperative, with profits brought back to the community. The cooperative will use the profits to run education programmes that enhance biodiversity and reduce energy poverty.

To raise funding for the project, the cooperative has announced a share offer scheme that will be open to people across the UK, with funds raised through the ethical crowd-funding website, Ethex.

The cooperative is seeking to raise £640,000, with people able to invest between £500 and £100,000. Investors will receive a projected 7% return per annum and will be eligible for 30% tax relief through the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme.

The project is among the UK’s final community energy projects eligible to qualify for EIS tax relief. In October’s Autumn Budget, the Chancellor stated this incentive will end on 30th November, meaning there will never be a better time to invest in community energy projects.

The Merston Community Solar Farm site already has planning permission and the cooperative aims to keep the land in agricultural use.

Under shared ownership 5 + 5 scheme, in line with the government’s community energy framework, 5MW will be owned and operated by Meadow Blue Community Energy, and 5MW will be owned and operated as a commercial solar farm by Primrose Solar.

The Meadow Blue Community Energy project has the potential to generate a community fund worth up to £4 million over 25 years, which will support local community projects, such as pop-up energy advice campaigns to help reduce the incidence of fuel poverty in the area, and projects which work towards a low carbon future.

Dave Barton, Director of MBCE and one of the founders of local community energy co-operative Solesco, said, “This project provides a fantastic opportunity for local people in Sussex to invest in and own a part of our renewable energy future. Not only will our project generate clean renewable energy, it will also enhance biodiversity and provide an excellent outdoor learning facility for local school children. We hope to work with local groups to promote agricultural good practice on the site.

“Furthermore, if approved by HMRC, it is the best time ever to invest in a community energy project in the UK to benefit from 30% tax relief through the government’s EIS – to be withdrawn from 30th November 2015.”

MBCE is working in association with OVESCO, Solesco and Mongoose Energy to manage the share offer. The community shares are being listed on Ethex, an online portal which specialises in ‘positive’ investments that deliver social and environmental benefits as well as financial ones. The project was developed by award-winning solar developer Solstice Renewables.

More details, including the share offer document and a short film about the project can be found on the MBCE website. Information on how to invest can also be found on the Ethex website.


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

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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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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