Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC) launches a new crowdfund to continue its journey to become a major generator of community-owned clean energy.
The crowdfund target of £1,150,000 will enable BEC to repay previous loans and invest in new micro-renewable generation and storage schemes. These include a 100kW Tesla battery storage project at a new sustainable housing site.
This bond offer builds on the popularity of BEC’s energy schemes where surplus profits are reinvested into the community. BEC has a proven track record of funding and developing renewables, including raising the ambitious sum of £10m last year.
Find out more in Director Andy O'Brien's presentation detailing BEC's plans for the future.
Bristol Energy Cooperative – where we
came from, and where we’re going
Bristol Energy Cooperative
5 July 2017
Who we are
• Established in 2011, by people from a number of community
energy groups in the city.
• “Investing in renewables, cutting carbon, building community.”
• Raised £10 million in 2015-16 for community solar projects.
• 9MWp of solar PV under community ownership.
Share Offer One – Solar PV, 2012
• £125,000 raised from 160 investors.
• Solar rooftop installations at:
Knowle West Media Centre
Easton Community Centre.
• Occupants benefit from long-term supply of
subsidised green energy.
• BEC receives the Feed-in Tariff payments.
• 4% return to investors
• Met our projected generation targets over
the 4 years of operation.
Solar Share Offer Two, 2014
• £120,000 raised
• More community solar
- Bristol Folk House
- Empire Fighting Chance
- South Bristol Sports Centre
• 5% interest payment to all
members in 2015 and 2016.
First payment into a
We own two solar farms: one in Lawrence Weston, Bristol and the
other in Puriton, Somerset.
We also have solar PV on 11 community buildings:
BEC’s solar portfolio currently generates 9,105 MWh
(Megawatt Hours) of electricity per year - enough to power
2,220 typical UK homes.
Rooftop solar sites: 214 MWh
Solar Farm – Somerset: 4,572 MWh
Solar Farm – Lawrence Weston: 4,319 MWh
We’ve raised over £11 million for our projects so far. This has
come from a combination of:
- public crowd-funding (£4 million)
- commercial loans, and loans from social funders.
We have 550 investor members (shareholders) and 800+ investors
in total (shares/bonds).
We’ve also facilitated over £200,000 of community benefit
payments to the local community.
- £155,000 to Ambition Lawrence Weston
- £50,000 to a regional community fund
Further projects currently under development are:
- more solar (rooftop and ground-mount)
- battery storage
- community microgrids
- energy efficiency
Our latest bond offer:
• 3 year unsecured bond paying target returns of 4.5% per
• IF ISA eligible
• Target of £1,150,000 - no minimum
• Minimum investment £100, maximum £100,000
• Close date 31 July 2017
As well as doing renewable energy installations, we also
promote zero carbon scenarios, and showcase the awesome
progress being made on this across the world.
• We can get to zero carbon by 2030 using a
combination of existing renewable energy
technologies and energy efficiency
• And cope with scenarios like the sun not shining
and the wind not blowing
• Without using fossil-fuels and nuclear.
We need smart, speedy, nimble energy
• Proper, large-scale energy efficiency
• Rapid, large-scale roll-out of
solar, wind, hydro, small biomass,
anaerobic digestion, district heat…
• Energy storage
• Smart grids
• Demand side management
On 26 May 2017 the nation’s solar panels generated
8.7GW of power, more than nuclear and coal power
Solar power was the second most used generating
technology behind gas-fired power and made up
around 25% of the UK’s electricity.
The UK now has 13 GW of solar power in place, the
same production capacity as eight new-generation
England’s renewable energy capacity
Not so long ago, we got our power from 50 large
Now there are over 900,000 renewable energy
installations, with 24GW installed in the last 6
Solar’s awesome stats
The Switch, by Chris Goodall.
• Solar is simply becoming by far the cheapest
energy technology. Costs are dropping at a
huge rate, following the “experience curve”
seen in semi-conductor/hard-disk industries,
genome-sequencing, and other sectors. For
solar there’s a continuing 20% cost reduction
for each doubling of production.
• There’s a huge solar resource. 90,000 TW of
solar energy hits the planet’s surface on
average across the year. The world’s total
running energy demand currently averages 15-
17 TW at any one time.
Solar’s awesome stats
• Energy demand in the richest countries is flat,
but future population growth has to be
factored in, so author uses a conservative
estimate of 30TW against which to test
whether renewables could meet this need.
• He concludes they can, with cheap solar
providing the backbone of this, and used in
combination with energy storage (with battery
storage now going through similar cost curve
reductions to solar).
• Excess electricity can be converted into
hydrogen through electrolysis, with further
conversion to methane and liquid fuels possible
/ being developed.
• Demand response, smart grids and energy
efficiency also part of the mix.
Solar’s awesome stats
• In many parts of the world, these combinations
may meet all the local energy needs. In other
parts of the world, including the UK, other
technologies will also be needed - wind,
biomass, hydro, etc.
• Further solar panel efficiency improvements
and new PV technologies will bring the costs
down still further.
• In contrast, the costs of other energy types are
rising, as they are no longer the backbone of
the energy system. Their infrastructure costs
remain whilst their income reduces due to
BEC is also nurturing a collaborative project to
accelerate the transition to a low carbon society in the
Greater Bristol region.
Bringing together renewables developers, community
groups, the 4 WoE local authorities, finance people,
lawyers, IT specialists, the education sector, PR
companies, and others…
… to work faster, in a more joined-up way, do larger-
scale projects, and enthuse the public to get involved.
Positive response so far to this collaboration
Exact name and structure still being finalised, and being
careful not to re-invent wheels.
In the meantime now have sub-groups going for technical
project development, data, finance, and public
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