Community benefit societies
For each of our community energy projects a community benefit society is set up. This society manages the project and also acts the vehicle through which funds are raised to finance it.
Residents, businesses, councils and other local stakeholders can choose to
invest in the society by purchasing shares and becoming shareholders and members. The funds raised through the shares allows the society to buy and install renewable energy assets (solar panels) and provides an income stream.
The society is run by its members and a board of directors who come from
the local community. Governance of the society is truly democratic in that each member has one vote, regardless of the amount they invest. Shareholders receive a competitive return on their investment in the range of 3-5% per annum. After meeting core costs and investor returns, surplus income is ring-fenced to be spent within the community.
Community benefit societies are legal entities whose statutory purpose is to
serve the broader interests of the community. By using this model we ensure that financial returns are delivered back to the community, thereby delivering a truly socially responsible energy project.
Our model provides more than low-carbon energy, it delivers a nine stage social works programme. This includes fuel poverty initiatives, internships and work experience opportunities and culminates with residents running their own community energy projects. The programme can be separated into two phases. During the first phase our staff works with you to develop the programme and in the second phase we deliver it with the local community.