Neen Sollars

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It’s a record – Sharenergy is currently supporting no less than nine share offers live or impending: 2 wind projects, 5 hydro and 2 solar. We’ll be featuring them on our live projects page as they get up and running over the next week. They include Heartland Community Wind (our biggest ever project – 2 x 250kW turbines and £1.8m in total), Ludlow Hydro (nearly 7 years in the making), and lots of other great projects, some of which we have been heavily involved in steering from the beginning, and others where we have provided only a few services in support of a very capable local development team.  Taking both approaches means we stay on our toes  – and it has lead to our most productive ever period. We’ve not been neglecting the older projects either -we’ve been spotted at the riverside holding spanners for Bill Duley of Neen Sollars Community Hydro (pictured)

Ludlow Hydro

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After Chase Community Solar has reached its target, 2015 is really hotting up  – Heartland Community Wind is due to launch this week and we’ve got three new share offers going live later in February:

Ludlow Community Hydro  is a 30kW hydro going right in the middle of the lovely Shropshire town of Ludlow. An archimedes screw turbine will repower the historic Ludford Mill.

Corwen Electricity Co-operative is a 42kW project which by contrast uses high-head technology – harnessing a mountain stream which plunges 150m towards the town of Corwen in North Wales

Pomona Solar aims to carry out a number of installs in Herefordshire – starting with a 250kW ground-mounted array. Unlike big solar farms, these panels are feeding directly into small businesses on the farm – including a coachbuilder and barrel maker.

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Magnificent work from Chase Community Solar who have reached their target of £750,000- fully subscribed today with a few days to spare. We’re keen to see more projects around the UK using this innovative model  – solar panels owned by a co-op going on lots of council-owned or housing-association-owned buildings – low carbon generation, fuel poverty alleviation and a sound viable social enterprise all in one.

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We don’t want to give too much detail just yet, but a number of new community energy share offers are due to be launched between now and the end of April.  Even better, which ever form of renewable energy you prefer, there will be a share offer for you.

If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to our mailing list and twitter feed and be the first to get news on these share offers. If you are a UK tax payer you we be able to take advantage of pioneer tax incentives (SEIS) on eligible offers.

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We are very pleased to announce that Ludlow Hydro Co-operative has received its planning permission and impoundment licence jsut before the end of December.

This has allowed us to submit our application for preliminary accreditation to OFGEM before the deadline of 31st December which has allowed us to lock into the current Feed in Tariff. If we had not met this deadine, we would have had to accept the FIT tariff reduction which is expected at the start of April 2015.

We now have all the permits we need in order to go ahead with construction. Before we do this we need to complete and sign the necessary leases, which are well in hand. As soon as these are signed, we will be launching a share offer to raise the funds needed for construction. We are hoping to do this by the beginning of February.

 

 

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All the NRW licences for the scheme at Corwen have now been obtained.

We obtained planning permission in September, however, since then, the location where the turbine house at the bottom was to go has become unavailable and we have had to alter the location of the turbine house. This does not significantly affect the yield or cost of the scheme, but does mean that the planning permission needs to be re-submitted so that it accurately reflects how the scheme will be built.

From our discussion with the planning officers, there is little question that this amendment will be accepted by the planners. The only consequence is that it has meant that we do not have planning permission of the actual final design by the 31st December. This was the date that we needed to submit an application to OFGEM  (“preliminary accreditation”) in order to lock into the current feed in tariff.

We have submitted an application to OFGEM with the existing planning permission. OFGEM state in their guidance that preliminary accreditation would be invalid if the “site” is different between the final application and the planning application submitted with the preliminary accreditation. OFGEM do not give examples of what constitutes “different” and leave this to individual site by site assessment.

We therefore do not know at present whether our submission for preliminary accreditation will remain valid. We have flagged this change of planning permission up with OFGEM and await their decision. If they do decide that the scheme is “different” this would mean that we would have to accept the post 31 March 2015 FIT tariff. Our calculations indicate that the scheme is still viable under the reduced tariff but the amount of community fund would have to be smaller.

The final component before we can build is to complete all the leases. We have funding from Ynni’r Fro to pay or all legal costs, and are already in detailed discussions with all landowners and we hope to get these signed, and confirmation from OFGEM on the FIT tariff, by the end of January. We will then aim to run a share offer for the construction costs during February and March.

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We are delighted that the share offer has now gone past £250,000 (now standing at £260,250). You can see instantly the current total on the Ethex website www.ethex.org.uk

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We wish to thank all our customers, supporters, funders, community project developers and shareholders a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Opening Hours

While we will be available, this will be with fewer office opening hours until the New Year so please leave a message or send an email if you have an urgent enquiry in the interim and we will do our best to respond as soon as possible.

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Chase Community Solar has been getting plenty of coverage in the national press, including an article in The Independent and a report on BBC 5 Live. The alternative approach taken by Chase Solar to tackling fuel poverty in this deprived area has caught the interest of reporters and it is hoped that other communities across the UK will be inspired to follow in its the footsteps.

The share offer has an initial target of £370,000 which would allow 150 homes to benefit from solar panels and the share offer will ideally reach £950,000 which will allow 400 homes can benefit. So far £220,000 has been raised. If the lower target is reached in time the first solar panels will be installed on council tenants homes as early as March 2015. The share offer for the scheme has one of the lowest entry points (£100) making it accessible to a wide range of people. Shareholders will not only gain a small income from the investment, they will also be able to vote on the running of the project as a member of the Community Benefit Society.

The share offer is due to close in mid February and anyone interested in becoming part of this ‘first of its type’ in the UK should make an application as soon as possible. The projected internal rate of return (IRR) for shareholders is 7% and there are additional tax incentives for most UK tax payers. As with all shares, capital invested is at risk, so please read the share offer document carefully.

Sharenergy have been pleased to be able to support the group in developing the share offer and promoting the project.  If you are interested in starting a similar project in your area, please contact us.