Community solar in 2015

Our second solar share offer was launched in February 2015 and closed in May 2015 at £850,000.

This amazing result is funding solar PV installations on more of Plymouth’s schools and community buildings, including the iconic Plymouth Life Centre. Installation is now complete on Mayflower School (see press release here), Torbridge High, Compton Primary, Marine Community Academy, Marine Primary, Hele’s School, the Shekinah Mission and Plymouth Life Centre (see below). We hope to add the University of St Mark and St John and another three or four sites in January/February 2016.

The solar installations will help reduce energy bills for the host building, provide great educational benefits and the surplus funds will be transferred to Plymouth Energy Community to continue to tackle the challenges of energy costs, fuel poverty and climate change.

Plymouth Life Centre installation

Our largest installation on Plymouth’s busiest leisure centre is now complete and generating clean energy! Thank-you to our partners CleanEarth for their patience and hard work on what has been a challenging project. Although you won’t be able to see the panels from the ground, you will find a digital display in the main hallway of the centre showing generation data and information about the solar roof.

How it works

Anyone aged 16 years or over, was able to ‘co-own’ some of this solar scheme by buying shares. Shares cost £1 with a minimum investment of £50 and a maximum investment of £100,000.

An intended average of 6% will be offered to members; up to 10.5% if you qualify for tax relief through the Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or, from April 2015, Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR).

We are again fortunate to have the backing of Plymouth City Council, and funds raised from this Share Offer have been supplemented by a £500,000 loan facility from them.

When the panels are installed, PEC Renewables will be paid by the host buildings for the solar energy that they use (at a reduced rate) and we will sell surplus energy back to the grid. In addition, we will receive a government subsidy called the Feed-in Tariff for every kW generated. These funds are then used to manage and maintain the arrays and also to pay interest back to you, as a community shareholder.

The installations to be funded by this Offer and those already installed are expected to generate £800,000 of surplus community income over the next 20 years. This allows support of current and future projects that tackle fuel poverty and climate change for years to come (read more below). Click here to read about success of our first solar share offer and our installations to date.

If you have purchased shares, you will become a member of PEC Renewables and are entitled to vote. This means that you also have an equal say on how to make the initiative a success.

How the community benefits

Please take time to browse through the rest of our website and see what amazing changes our team, volunteers and members are already achieving on the ground in Plymouth. Additionally, click on the links below to see a summary.

Plymouth Energy Community current projects & achievements to date

Since it was established, Plymouth Energy Community’s activities have included:

  • Launch of a Fuel Debt Advice Service to help residents in arrears apply for funding to clear their debt. This programme has cleared over £120,000 fuel bill debt in 18 months, from over 400 referrals.
  • Promotion of grant schemes for free cavity and loft insulation and subsidised external wall insulation. Over 23,000 households were targeted. As a result, 700 households are warmer and the measures installed will saving residents £4.5 million over the lifetime of the measures, reducing heating bills by up to one third (average £260 per year per household).
  • Promotion of a free boiler scheme to help those in receipt of qualifying benefits with inefficient boilers.
  • Providing energy tariff advice to over 600 households, offering average savings of £180 per year.
  • Training energy champions, who have attended over 80 community events, supported over 280 residents and subsequently trained 100 frontline staff, who in turn reach hundreds of vulnerable energy consumers.
  • Providing energy efficiency information through events, online and offline communication channels (since Feb 2014; attended or presented at over 120 events and held six member events).
  • Employing two energy marketing apprentices, supporting skills-based employment in Plymouth.
  • Launching a volunteer programme training community volunteers to provide free home energy advice visits. There are now 52 full trained volunteers (four have completed Level 3 City & Guilds in Energy Awareness). The team have made 54 household visits and given bespoke advice to over 2700 people. Residents with additional care and support needs make up 64% of all home visits conducted so far. Householders are saving £203 a year by switching and £141 through advice.
  • Projects in development

  • We are exploring the opportunity to partner with OVO Energy to join their innovative OVO Communities scheme; creating competitive local tariffs for local householders, which in turn will create further community benefit funds.

  • We would like to provide an installer referral service: ensuring Plymouth residents have easy access to a range of accredited and endorsed renewable energy and efficiency measure installers.

  • We are currently working on the development of a community-owned ground-mounted solar array in the north-west of the City. For further information on this project, please click here

  • How shareholders benefit

    Here are some of the benefits to our shareholders:

    ✓ Help generate £800,000 of income for Plymouth Energy Community to continue to tackle the challenges of energy costs, fuel poverty and climate change
    ✓ Supporting schools and community buildings to get free solar panels
    ✓ Be part of a multi award-winning organisation
    ✓ One member, one vote – all Members have an equal say in decisions put to Members
    ✓ Members earn an intended average share interest of 6% per year
    ✓ Potential tax savings through capital gains deferral and loss relief
    ✓ Inheritance tax exempt – an income-earning asset that you can leave to your family.

    Share purchase FAQs

    Who are Ethex?

    Ethex is the UK's first not for profit website designed to make positive investment easy to understand and do. A growing number of individuals are interested to invest positively for social and environmental returns as well as financial; actively investing in businesses because of what they do, not what they don’t do. Through Ethex investors can actively invest in businesses they believe in, and social businesses can find the investment they need to grow. Ethex promotes our share offers and managing the share offer administration on behalf of PEC Renewables.

    Our partners

    The success of our share offers are thanks to the support of our partners:

    Our solar installers

    Our solar installers are all based in Devon and Cornwall:

    Potential sites in Plymouth

    Find out more:

    Go to the PEC Renewables Board page page to find out what happened at our AGMs, see what Q&A’s were raised and read the minutes.

    Download the prospectus for our first share offer (2014, now closed)

    Download the prospectus for our second share offer (2015, now closed)

    Download the PEC Renewables Society Rules that govern the organisation.