Local people and organisations could help Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge and Weston-super-Mare generate their own green energy and create a multi-million funding pot for community projects by investing in a local energy company.
Burnham and Weston Energy CIC has been set up to run the community solar array at Wick Farm, between Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-On-Sea.
It’s one of the largest community solar farms in the UK and currently generates enough carbon-free electricity to power the equivalent of over 2,000 homes.
By investing from as little as £200 – roughly the cost of two of the community solar farm’s 36,000 solar panels – local people and organisations will be able to have a say on how the community company is run, says the firm.
The investment will pay 5% interest a year, rising every year with inflation, and is available on the Triodos Crowdfunding website. As with all investments, interest payments are not guaranteed and capital is at risk.
The investment will also power the ‘Sunshine Fund’, which will provide grants to local community organisations and projects and an advice service to support local households struggling with energy debt and fuel poverty.
Jake Burnyeat, director of Burnham and Weston Energy CIC, said: “It’s an exciting opportunity and Burnham and Weston Energy CIC was set up especially to help the communities of Burnham and Weston take advantage of it.”
The initial bond investment will be repaid in instalments over 18 years. The bonds are eligible to be held in an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) which allows investors to earn interest tax-free. Like all ISAs, the IFISA has eligibility criteria and any tax savings depend on personal financial circumstances.
The ‘Sunshine Fund’ is being managed on behalf of the project by the Somerset Community Foundation, with grants will be available for projects and initiatives in Burnham-on-Sea, Highbridge, Weston-Super-Mare and the rural area within 10km of the Wick Solar Farm.
More information about both the bond offer and the Sunshine Fund is available on Burnham and Weston Energy’s website here.
Investors should note that an investment in Burnham and Weston Energy CIC bonds is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Burnham and Weston Energy’s ability to pay the interest and repay the bonds is not guaranteed and is dependent on the continued success of its business model. These bonds are unquoted securities with a fixed repayment date and although the bonds are transferable, investors should be aware that they may not be able to access their capital during the life of the bond.