An investment body promoting community ownership of solar farms has secured refinancing of its assets worth £31 million.
CORE has negotiated its debt rollover with abrdn, formerly known as Aberdeen Standard Life and its partner on the deal, pensions provider Phoenix Group. Finance Earth, specialist advisors to the third sector on environmental investments, structured the deal.
The new mandate will serve to deliver fully amortising, long-term, non-recourse, RPI-linked debt for CORE’s assets, and will run until 2036.
Last year six CORE solar farms generated between them £60,000 in surplus for community benefit. The sum represented a 70% Covid-related fall on 2020’s total.
One of the six farms is Yealm Community Energy‘s 7.3 MW solar farm at Creacombe, south Devon. Generating enough power to serve around 2,500 in five parishes near Plymouth, Creacombe became the first subsidy-free community solar project when it was connected to the grid in February 2020.
Peter Jenkins, CORE’s chair, hailed the deal. “This refinancing with abrdn and Phoenix demonstrates that community energy schemes can be financed at scale, in partnership with like-minded institutions, and as a result generate significant financial benefits for local communities”, Jenkins said.