Sheffield’s second opportunity to invest in community owned renewable solar energy.
Sheffield Renewables will launch their second Share Offer on Tuesday 1st November at Sheffield’s central Quaker Meeting House at 7pm (tea & coffee available from 6.45pm!) giving local people another opportunity to invest in and benefit from community owned renewable solar energy produced right here in Sheffield. The organisation intends to build upon successes to date and raise £70,000 in order to deliver two more PV schemes, installing another 56 kW of renewable energy, equivalent to saving approx 5 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Sheffield Renewables was set up in 2009 to help create a cleaner, more sustainable, pleasant and fair city, by developing community owned renewable energy projects. In 2012 the organisation raised £221,000 of investment from community shares which was used to fund the build of three 50kW solar photovoltaic (PV) schemes around Sheffield. These schemes at Paces Campus in High Green, Swinton Fitzwilliam Primary School in Swinton and Attercliffe Police Station have cumulatively in their first year of operation generated over 120,000 kwh of electricity and over £23,000 of income. It is the success of these initial three schemes that has inspired the organisation to run a second share offer in order to develop new projects to increase the capacity of community owned renewable energy in the city.
Emma Bridge, Chief Executive of Community Energy England, who will be speaking at the Share Offer launch believes that “Community energy brings so many benefits to a local area. As well as generating renewable energy, it reduces CO2 emissions, provides ethical routes for local investors, generates revenue in the local economy and develops skills. It’s great to see community energy growing across Sheffield City Region through the work of Sheffield Renewables. It is more important than ever to support individuals and organisations in taking greater control over how energy is generated as well as how to manage energy usage. Projects like the ones that Sheffield Renewables are developing will be vital in achieving this.”
The shares are offered as a social investment for public spirited and environmentally aware individuals and organisations. The aim is to provide an attractive ethical investment opportunity for local people, businesses and organisations who will receive a modest return on their investment. “Investing in Sheffield Renewables is about more than financial returns, it is also about putting something back into our city and contributing to a more sustainable future,” says Chris Broome, an existing investor.
In addition, the solar projects provide financial savings to the local organisations to install solar panels on their buildings, as we sell the electricity to them at a significantly reduced price. Furthermore, as a Co-operative and Community Benefit Society any surplus revenue generated from the electricity produced is placed into a community benefit fund. This will be used to support further community renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the Sheffield area. Members of Sheffield Renewables will be able to vote on how we make use of the Community Benefit Fund at our next AGM in the spring of 2017.
Dr Richard Collins, Chair of Sheffield Renewables, believes that this share offer is about “more than investing in a renewable energy scheme, it’s also about building and strengthening a community. The challenges of climate change and creating a sustainable society are enormous, yet bring with them a great opportunity to work together. Renewable energy is part of the solution and there is a growing movement of communities, such as ourselves that have come together to make local renewable energy supplies a reality. We’re looking to build on the success of our first community share offer which was held back in 2012, and give local people a new opportunity to invest in local clean renewable solar energy schemes. We want to continue to pioneer community owned renewable energy which benefits the Sheffield’s community and the environment and not the big energy companies.”
Sheffield Renewables are always on the lookout for new organisations to work with to develop potential new community owned renewable energy projects. If you know of any organisation that might be keen to be involved with such a project please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to the editor
- For further information please contact Sheffield Renewables via
- Sheffield Renewables Limited is a Community Benefit Society registered under The Co-operative & Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. Registration No: 30736R. VAT Registration No. 102929725. Registered Address: 25 Alexandra Road, Sheffield, S2 3EE.
- Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James’ St, Sheffield, S1 2EW.
- The share offer opens on the 1st of November and will close on 31st December 2016 or at the Board’s discretion.
- Investors can invest anything from £100 to £20,000 for individual and corporate members. Societies can invest from £100 to £100,000.
- We aim to pay a modest rate of interest to shareholders of 3% beginning 3 years after the first Phase 2 solar PV project starts operating or 3 years after May 2017 whichever is later.
- Beginning in year 3 we aim to pay 1.5% in to a Community Benefit Fund, with members able to dictate how this is spent.
- Sheffield Renewables is a community and a social enterprise that develops, funds, builds, owns and operates renewable energy schemes. This means that we are run by and for local people and also that we are not-for-profit. Any surplus money generated is reinvested to support local sustainability. Most of our work is carried out by volunteers, which helps to reduce our costs.
- Our schemes will contribute to city-wide efforts to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for increasing local renewable energy provision. We reinforce these direct carbon savings through local outreach, communications and education. Our work also helps to strengthen social cohesion and community resilience by encouraging people to work together and to share a common purpose, as well as by developing community owned assets. In pursuing our aims we work across the city for the benefit of everyone, while giving an additional focus to those areas close to our project sites.
- Sheffield Renewables now have three schemes in operation. Our first 50 kW scheme is at Paces Campus, which is home to a school for children with disabilities, a day care nursery, after school club, indoor play centre, art studio and gallery, sports hall and a community café. It also hosts social enterprises and charities and offers office space for business support. Our second 50 kW scheme is at Swinton Fitzwilliam Primary School. We delivered our third community owned renewable energy scheme earlier this year with a 50kW solar array panel at Attercliffe police station.
- Community Energy (CEE) England is committed to helping create the conditions within which the community energy sector can rapidly grow and scale such that community energy projects become a normal part of the work of local communities and the organisations that support them. CEE acts as a representative body for community energy organisations developing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and those that support and work with them.