Sharenergy was initially a project set up in 2008 by Energy4All in the rural West Midlands, with funding from the former Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands. This was aimed at providing development finance in the form of a loan, to community renewable energy projects in this area (known as the Rural Regeneration Zone). Following the abolition of Regional Development Agencies Sharenergy decided to continue as an independent organization, still based in Ludlow. In April 2011 Sharenergy Co-operative Ltd was registered as a co-operative and it is this organisation that administrates the reinvestment of loans from successful projects and provides support to community organisations installing projects eligible for FITs or the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) around the UK. Sharenergy continues to work closely with Energy4All.
Halo Leisure Services is a social enterprise, which runs a number of leisure centres on behalf of Councils, primarily in Herefordshire. Halo has a long lease with the County Council for all the buildings at the Bridge Street Sports Centre, including the tennis hall, where the Array will be installed.
Herefordshire County Council
Herefordshire County Council is the freehold owner of the building. It has made provisions to allow Halo to sub-let to the Co-operative, to enable the Solar Array to be installed under a lease agreement and for the Array to remain in place for the 25 years of the Feed in Tariff period.
Leominster Community Solar
Sharenergy approached Halo, the operator of the sports centre in 2010 to see if they would be interested in hosting a community owned solar PV array on one or more of the sites that they operate in Herefordshire on behalf of Herefordshire County Council. Southern Solar had also been talking to Halo about the idea of installing solar PV on their buildings in Leominster for some time. Following this meeting feasibility work was undertaken by Sharenergy and Southern Solar to assess all the Halo properties. The Bridge Street site in Leominster was chosen as the most suitable and detailed feasibility work carried out. It was deduced from this work that the curved roof of the tennis hall, which faces broadly South East would be the most suitable for the Array.
This culminated in a planning application being submitted to Herefordshire County Council and this was approved by committee on 13th June 2011. The decision by the Department for Energy & Climate Change to reduce the FIT rate for solar PV installations of 50kW and above from 1st August 2011 meant that in order to be financially feasible, the scheme had to be reduced from 88kW to 49kW. The Leominster Community Solar Co-operative was formally established in August 2011 with 3 founding directors. LCSC is one of several renewable energy co-operatives in the rural West Midlands being developed with support from Sharenergy.
Leominster Community Solar Co-operative Limited was incorporated and registered with the UK Financial Services Authority as an Industrial and Provident Society number 31387R on 14th September 2011. It is domiciled in England, with its registered office at 22 Corve Street, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1DA.