Our Community Share Offer in our solar array in Ernesettle raised just short of £1M!

We did it! We 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!

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.

Our Community Share Offer for this project raised £998.549 in 2016 – an amazing result!

The funding has been used to replace our short-term construction loan with a combination of community shares and a long-term loan with Plymouth City Council.

With a minimum investment of £50 and a maximum investment of £100,000. A target interest of 6% was offered on investment.

Our Share Offer Document explains how the share offer worked in more detail.

How do investors benefit?

This is how our investors benefit from their share investment:

✓ 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.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.