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Community energy scheme seeks investors

Wolverton Community Energy aims to transform the rooftops to create renewable solar energy. The revenues generated will then be used to invest directly back into the local community to cut energy usage and relieve fuel poverty.

The business has already secured loan funding of £260,000 from social investment organisation Big Issue Invest but is hoping to minimise loan finance by maximising community investment. The share offer was launched on November 6.

Director Jane Grindey said: “We are hoping to raise the majority of our funding through a community shares offer. This involves local people investing in the project because they believe in what we are trying to do, but it is also about securing a very good financial return.”

Wyvern School, in Wolverton and Milton Keynes Community Foundation’s buildings at Kiln Farm are the first to install the solar panels.

Foundation chief executive Julia Upton said: “Our Kiln Farm building houses a number of social enterprises as well as commercial tenants all of whom will immediately benefit from cheaper, green energy.  

"We have chosen to work with Wolverton Community Energy because their mission is so well aligned with our primary purpose of supporting the local communities of Milton Keynes.”

The share offer was launched on investment and savings platform Ethex. Its chief executive Lisa Ashford said: “It is a great project so it should get a lot of interest. We are seeing an explosion in interest from people who want to invest their money where it will earn a return and make an impact.”

The offer anticipates an average return for investors of five per cent, with up to 11pc forecast for higher rate tax payers. The scheme has secured advance assurance for SEIS and EIS tax relief with HMRC for those investing before November 24.

Wolverton Community Energy has been established as a result of a partnership with my carbon revolution and Future Wolverton, and is a community benefit society, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.