Gen Community has partnered with British Gas Solar and Social Finance, to deliver large scale community energy projects for local authorities and housing associations. The Cabinet Office, through the Investment Contract Readiness Fund, has seeded this initiative.
Community energy enables local ownership of low carbon generating projects, whist retaining income from the generation of electricity, for the benefit of the community.
In order to scale community energy, there is a requirement to bring commercial expertise into the sector, and combine it with the ethos and principles of community energy.
Gen Community has partnered with Social Finance to deliver a ‘Solar Social Bond’, to finance multiple solar installations for Local Authorities and Housing Associations. British Gas Solar will install and operate the solar PV, providing excellent quality assurance and performance guarantees over the lifetime of the projects.
The model combines community equity, and bond finance, to scale community energy, whilst retaining the surplus income stream for the benefit of the community. Typical project sizes will be amalgamated to 5MWp and above.
Gen Community establishes a Community Benefit Society in the locality where the solar PV is to be deployed. This is the operating vehicle, which issues the community equity share offer, in addition to the Solar Social Bond. Representative members from the community and/or the Local Authority/Housing Association will sit on the board of the Community Benefit Society.
There is no capital outlay for the host organization, although there are opportunities to participate and invest, if desired.
|Local Authorities & Housing Associations This model offers the chance to engage with the local community, increasing community resilience, whilst offering mutual ownership of low carbon generation. There are significant benefits through the energy cost savings and reduction in carbon emissions, as well as the chance to participate in the distribution of the community fund to catalyse further social and environmental impact.|
|Community Energy Groups There are good opportunities to administer and deliver the community energy funds, and participate in community engagement to maximize the social impact of the model.|
|Local Installers British Gas Solar, welcome local installers to work as sub contractors on the projects. Companies who are social enterprises or small businesses will be favoured.|