Community share offers in Wales have topped £5 million over the last 3 years. Eleven Community Energy Organisations raised this across a variety of projects in all corners of Wales. This has been an incredible achievement particularly given the changes imposed by the UK Government on Feed In Tariffs (FITs), pre-accreditation and tax relief offered through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
Perhaps with interest rates at an all-time low, having been cut from 0.5% to 0.25% in recent weeks, with further reductions expected, there has never been a better time to invest in Community Energy. Currently there are a variety of Welsh community share issues available that could offer a more appealing rate of return than traditional investments, generally with fixed returns of between 4.5% and 6.5%.
This has caught the attention of the media, particularly following the recent interest rate cuts. Awel Co-op, a community based cooperative in the Upper Swansea Valley, have recently been featured on the BBC News. They featured in a full article here as well as being covered on the evening news. In it Dan McCallum, chairman of Awel co-op, said people had to be sure they wanted a long-term commitment.
But he said there was a benefit to keeping it local.
“We’re not borrowing it from a venture capital fund or a distant bank,” he said.
“People are putting their own money in and getting a return on that investment. The returns from energy co-ops over the years have proved very reliable.
“There are risks with the project, but we’re building it, we have a guaranteed feed-in tariff price for the next 20 years – a secure income – and a track record in developing these types of project.”
As these schemes also re-invest their profits back into the local area and borrow money locally they are able to ensure that as much of the benefits from the investment are retained locally as possible.
Three of CEW’s members are still currently offering shares, including Awel Co-op, Carmarthenshire Energy and Small Wind Co-op. It is great to see so many of these schemes starting to get the recognition they deserve. We now need to build on this momentum and share these great success stories to raise awareness of the fantastic work that is being done in the Community Energy Sector.
You can find more information on these enterprises listed below. Click on the image to be redirected to the project’s fundraising page.
Community energy enterprise: Awel Co-op
Location: Cwmllynfell, Upper Swansea Valley
Project: 4.7 MW Windfarm
Funding target: £2,000,000
Current investment: £1,256,000
Local community purpose: Tackling fuel poverty and developing other renewable energy projects.
Minimum investment: £50
Expected investor return: 5%
Community energy enterprise: Carmarthenshire Energy
Location: Salem, Carmarhenshire
Project: 500 kW Wind turbine
Funding target: £600,000
Current investment: £387,000
Local community purpose: Tackling fuel poverty and developing other renewable energy projects. Supporting the local community with grants and zero/low interest loans.
Minimum investment: £100
Expected investor return: 5.6%
Close date: 30th September 2016
Community energy enterprise: Small Wind Co-op
Location: Troed y Bryn (Wales) & Kellybank (Scotland)
Project: 180 kW Turbine & 2 x 100 kW Turbines
Funding target: £700,000
Current investment: £850,955
Local community purpose: Generate clean electricity, contributing to local community funds, local employment and supporting community buildings.
Minimum investment: £100
Expected investor return: 4.5% – 6.5%
Close date: 22nd August 2016 [8.31 pm]
The community energy investment offers linked from this page may differ in a number of ways including: technology, development status, social purpose and impact, company and investment structure, governance and management arrangements, intended investor return, tax considerations and regulatory risk. As with any kind of investment, there are risks associated with putting your money into a community energy enterprise. You should consider all the information provided by each community energy enterprise carefully and not assume that one offer or enterprise is similar to another. Offer documents should be read carefully and in full.
If you are in any doubt as to whether a community energy investment offer is suitable for you, you should seek your own advice from an independent financial adviser duly authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, who specialises in advising on investment in shares and other securities.
This page is also available in: Welsh