Newport solar project

REA Community Energy Award

Alleviating fuel poverty

This outstanding project really ticks all the boxes when it comes to seizing the unique potential of distributed renewables for social benefit. This community-led scheme combines solar panels with innovative financing to help bring households out of fuel poverty – an exemplary model we look forward to seeing replicated across the country.”
Nina Skorupska, REA Chief Executive
In 2012, Gen Community successfully launched its first community benefit project in Newport, South Wales – an area specifically chosen for its high level of deprivation and fuel poverty.

The project was funded by a solar community share offer, £400,000 equity investment from our pioneering investing members and a £50,000 loan from CAF Venturesome – the Charities Aid Foundation investment arm. The share offer was approved by HMRC for Enterprise Investment Scheme relief on 26th September 2012.

The project, to date, has provided free solar PV installations to 74 households in fuel poverty, giving them 25 – 35% electricity savings per annum, equating to combined financial savings of over £12,000 p.a. Over 180,000 kWh of energy has been generated by this project already, saving over 90 tonnes of CO2.

The generation to date from the installations indicates that investing members will receive their projected 7% return, after a year’s FiT generation.

Surplus income from the project is being used to establish a 20-year education and empowerment program with the NEA, (National Energy Action – the UK national fuel poverty charity). The NEA is working with Gen Community to hold semi annual meetings for the newly formed low carbon community to aid and educate the beneficial homeowners on ways of escaping life in fuel poverty.

This social impact is being measured, accounted and reported back to Gen Community to ensure the model evolves to maximise social impact of future projects.

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