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Peter Capener of Bath and West Community Energy

Solar scheme share offer launches in Corsham and Bradford-on-Avon

An award-winning sustainable energy company is inviting residents living near a proposed solar farm to invest in the £1.6m scheme.

Bath and West Community Energy, which won Community Energy Company of the Year at the 2014 UK Community Energy awards, aims to raise £1.6 million to build the Wilmington Solar Array near Bath.

The company will be hosting events at The Pound Arts Centre, Pound Pill, Corsham, this tomorrow (Thursday, October 16) starting at 7.45pm, and at Serendipity, 4 Weavers Walk, Bradford-on-Avon next Thursday, October 23 starting at 7.15pm.

Since the share offer opened on September 17 it’s already raised over £420,000 – more than a quarter of its target. The minimum investment is £500 and the maximum is £100,000. The offer is due to close on November 14 but may close earlier if fully subscribed.

Pete Capener, chairman of BWCE, said: “Investing in our community solar issue offers far more than a reasonable financial return; it will help to secure a community-owned project generating significant, long-term benefits for local people – cutting carbon and tackling fuel poverty – for many years to come.

“I urge anyone who is interested in making a long-term positive investment, that could not only benefit their pocket but also the environment and the community, to come along to one of our events and find out more.”

The investment return would come from the government’s Feed-in Tariff subsidy and the direct sale of the electricity generated.

BWCE has returned seven percent per annum for the last three years to its investors and forecasts a similar seven percent return on this project. The scheme is also eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme which means qualifying tax payers could boost potential returns further.

Surplus profits will be recycled back into the community through an independent Community Fund, which will make grants to local projects focusing on reducing fuel poverty and cutting carbon emissions, for example through local food production, transport and waste projects. The Wilmington Farm Solar Array is expected to provide over £700,000 to the fund over its 25-year lifetime.

Planning permission has already been secured for the solar array, which would have an installed capacity of 2.34 MegaWatts, generating enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of over 650 average homes.

Shares in the community co-operative are being offered through Ethex, a not-for-profit website designed to make it easier for people to invest directly in social impact businesses.

Jamie Hartzell, managing director of Ethex, said: “Community-owned renewable energy is one of the most popular areas of positive investment for Ethex.

“BWCE not only has a track record in delivering clean energy installations but has an inspiring vision of local ownership which will help grow renewables in the wider community. I believe this will give people a greater awareness of where energy comes from and how we should use it responsibly.”

For more information and to download a free Share Offer Document, visit the BWCE website: