You can now buy shares in Ernesettle community solar!

We have done it! We have defied the odds to build Plymouth’s largest solar array, generating enough clean energy to meet the annual needs of 1000 homes and long-term funds for local economic development, fuel poverty and climate change projects.

Now we are offering you the opportunity to help us raise £1,230,000 by buying community shares.

A short-term construction loan allowed us to build the array in advance of the looming cuts to subsidies and our 16,000 solar panels started generating electricity on 23 March 2016.
Now we need to replace that short-term loan with a combination of community shares and a long-term loan with Plymouth City Council.

You are now able to ‘co-own’ some of this solar project by buying shares. Shares cost £1, with a minimum investment of £50 and a maximum investment of £100,000. A target interest of 6% is offered on your investment.

Our Share Offer Document explains in more detail, click on the image to download a copy. If you would like a hard copy sent to you, please email us at

We have partnered with Ethex, a not-for-profit positive investment and savings platform, to help make your share purchase easy to understand and do.

Once you have read our Share Offer Document and are ready to invest, please click on invest now to be taken through to the Ethex website to complete your purchase.

How do you benefit?

If you are thinking of supporting us by buying shares, here are some of the benefits to you:

✓ You’ll earn a fair return on your capital – intended 6% per year
✓ Help generate an estimated £2,900,000 of additional income for PEC to tackle fuel poverty and climate change
✓ Provide an income of £600,000 to Four Greens Community Trust to improve services and opportunities in Ernesettle, Honicknowle, Whitleigh and Manadon
✓ Be part of a multi-award winning organisation
✓ One Member, one vote, you’ll have an equal say in decisions put to Members
✓ Inheritance tax exempt – an income earning asset that you can leave to your family

How does the community benefit?

We’ve teamed up with Four Greens Community Trust CIC (FGCT) and Plymouth City Council to bring derelict land in the north-west of Plymouth into economic use; generating a long-term asset for the community.

Four Greens Community Trust will receive a rent income support their activities and surplus funds generated will ensure longevity of PEC, allowing support of current and future projects tackling fuel poverty and climate change for years to come.

PEC now offers a range of energy advice and support services targeted at the low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households. This includes:

  • Supporting residents to access grants to clear energy debt
  • Helping improve the health of those with cold and damp-related medical conditions by improving their homes
  • Promoting uptake of free and assisted insulation and heating programmes to those most in need
  • Provision of energy and fuel poverty awareness training to front-line staff and volunteers
  • Providing energy-focused apprenticeship opportunities
  • Assistance with tariff switching
  • Mentoring and supporting other community energy groups to do similar things elsewhere.

Please take time to browse through our website and see what amazing outcomes our team, volunteers and members are already achieving on the ground in Plymouth.

This infographic summarises the many ways your support will help.

How can you find out more?

You are welcome to attend our share offer information events:

Tuesday 7 June, 4-7pm, Ernesettle solar array, Ernesettle Lane – click here for further information
Wednesday 22 June, 5:30-7pm, Foot Anstey, Sutton Harbour – click here for further information
Wednesday 20 July, 4:45pm (for a 5pm start) to 6pm, Foot Anstey, Sutton Harbour – click here for further information

If you know of any events for us to attend or any special interest groups for us to talk to about this opportunity, please contact us.

Frequently asked questions

Who are Ethex?

When you click on ‘Invest Now’, you will be taken through to the Ethex website. Ethex is a not-for-profit positive investment and savings platform that makes it easy to make money do good. We are using Ethex to professionally manage our Share Application and payment process.

Since 2013, Ethex has helped raise over £30 million of investment into 53 social businesses, charities and community organisations.

Ethex is registered with HM Revenue and Customs for Money Laundering Regulation. This is in order that it can receive money from investors and pass it on to the businesses invested in. All monies received from investors are held in a segregated client account, so that they are separated from Ethex’s own funds. All Ethex directors have undertaken a ‘fit and proper test’, as part of the HMRC registration process. Ethex is not required to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in so far as it provides information on or arranges deals in investments. This is because it is an Enterprise Scheme, which is exempt from regulation in arranging financial deals when not for pecuniary gain as specified in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Exemption) Order 2001, paragraph 40.

Who are Four Greens Community Trust?

FGCT is a Community Interest Company, established in 2014. It has a local membership and an elected Board of local stakeholders. They aim to provide jobs, learning and training opportunities and improve community services and facilities in
the neighbourhoods of Ernesettle, Whitleigh, Honicknowle and Manadon.

Land and property have been set aside by Plymouth City Council for the Trust, to give local people more control and generate an income stream for FGCT. One of these assets is the land on which the Ernesettle community solar array has been built. Plymouth City Council entered into a 25 year lease agreement with ECS, and is now transferring the site to FGCT on a 35 year lease, to allow the rental income to be invested in the local community. ECS will support the FGCT by providing over £600,000 in rent over the next 25 years.

FGCT is currently also converting a former care home in Whitleigh into its new headquarters and business hub, and developing a community allotment. These projects bring underutilised public assets into positive economic use, directly benefiting the surrounding community. For more information visit their website.

Why was this site chosen?

The site is located adjacent to the River Tamar between a sewage treatment works and MOD Defence Storage and Distribution Agency in Ernesettle. It is a derelict, brownfield land and also within the MOD inner blast zone. FGCT looked at options for the site and due to restrictions imposed by the inner blast zone suggested the idea that a solar PV array would bring the most benefit to the community from this land.

What does the local community think?

During the planning application phase and during the construction of the array, we attended community events, getting feedback from local residents and businesses and ensuring everyone is included throughout the project.

87% of survey respondents (127 in total) agreed that the site is appropriate for a solar array and 82% agreed that community ownership was important.

“It makes perfect sense, that land has been doing nothing and due the restrictions of the blast zone, can’t really be used for anything else. If we can make clean energy AND funds for our community then it’s great for Ernesettle. It also gives a wonderful message to our children.”
Alison Sargent, local Ernesettle resident

How does solar PV work?

Solar panels take advantage of a powerful yet free energy source – the sun. In a single hour the sun transmits more energy to the earth’s surface than the world uses in a year.

The two main types of active solar panel systems are solar water heating and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. While they might look similar, and both consist of panels on roofs, solar water heating and solar PV are quite different.

Solar PV or solar electricity uses the energy from the sun to produce electricity, which can then be used in the host building and/or export onto the grid.

Solar water heating, also referred to as solar thermal or solar heating, uses energy from the sun to heat up water. It is mostly used to heat up domestic hot water systems.

Why people have invested in our renewable energy projects

‘I want to help install as much renewable energy capacity as possible so we can clean up the planet.
If I can do that, help build up a community fund and get a fair return all at once, then what better investment could there be….’

‘I have invested for a number of reasons;

  • Political- as Membership Secretary of my local Labour and Co Operative parties I believe such schemes should be encouraged and publicised.
  • Moral- as a parent I feel a duty to do what I can to protect the environment for future generations.
  • Financial- the investment returns are good and I like the fact that the money is used locally to improve things in our city.’

‘The reasons I invested in PEC Renewables were that I wanted to support renewable energy, particularly in this country, and also that the return of 6% was very good despite the slight risk of something not going according to plan. The team appear to have thought through all the eventualities and I can afford to risk the amount of money I invested.’

‘I have been convinced for many years that solar energy is a wonderful green way to generate energy. I invested in thermal solar panels about a year before the government introduced the feed-in tariff! I have two Bosch panels (For water heating) on my roof but this left little space for PV panels. The PEC offer was a wonderful way for me to invest in PV panels, benefiting the local schools and investing my money in a local community project. I’m getting a brilliant return on this investment.
I shall also invest in the Ernesettle scheme being run by PEC.’

‘My husband and I only invest in renewables (solar, wind turbines and Archimedes Screw so far). We believe that as a nation the only way forward is to keep the lights on with renewable power. We have had solar power on the roof of our house since 1987 when we moved in and found that we had inherited a home-made hot water system. That started the ball rolling for us and we have never looked back. Since then we have watched the performance of solar panels increase and the price decrease. It was expensive when we first started to put up panels in the 80’s but we have just increased our system with a further 12 panels which cost less per panel than our first system.’

Our partners

Ernesettle community solar array exists thanks to the tremendous support of:

Our previous community share offers

What we did in 2014
What we did in 2015

Relevant Documents

PEC Renewables Limited Society Rules
PEC Renewables Limited Secondary Rules

PEC Renewables Director’s interim report for the year ended 30th June 2014
PEC Renewables Director’s report for the year ended 30th June 2015 presented to Members at AGM 2015 2015
PEC Renewables Audited Accounts for the Year Ended 30th June 2015

Ernesettle Community Solar Articles of Association

Visit the PEC Renewables Governance page to read about the non-executive Directors that make up the Board and to read minutes from AGMs.

Please note: you should read the Share Offer Document in full, including the risk factors and terms and conditions before investing.