A multi-party finance innovator set up to foster England and Wales’s solar co-operatives has fed over £250,000 back into six communities.
Charitable trust Power to Change and benefactors Big Society Capital between them formed CORE Partners – short for Community Owned Renewable Energy –, a £40 million investment programme aiming to turn working ground-mounted solar farms into community-owned assets.
Advised by Finance Earth, formerly known as Environmental Finance, the social venture has released a total of £255,000 since 2020 from surpluses built up in from socially-controlled PV farms generating from the Gower peninsula to Kent and the Isle of Wight.
Supporters of localised green power argue that community ownership of generation kit keeps earnings and economic benefits such as skills within sometimes ‘left behind’ communities, safeguarding communities otherwise impoverished by revenue extraction.
CORE owns solar assets totalling 40 MWp across nine locations. It plans to turn all back to socially-controlled ownership by next year. The transfer will be achieved through a crowd-funding exercise later this year, recruiting retail investors.
The group’s distribution this year to co-operatives and community benefit societies has been as follows. It follows a distribution in 2020 of nearly £200,000.
|Solar co-op||Capacity||£ received|
|Shropshire & Telford||10 MW||20,000|
|Creacombe, Devon||7.3 MW||2,400|
|Brynwhilach, Gower||5 MW||10,000|
|Wight Community Energy, IoW||3.9 MW||8,000|
|Kent Community Energy||5 MW||10,000|
|Yealm, Devon||5 MW||10,000|
For more information, contact Joe Shamash, investment director at Big Society Capital