£3million community fund to launch as Burnham and Weston Energy CIC reaches £4million bond raise target
Burnham and Weston Energy CIC has reached its £4 million fundraising target making it one of the UK’s largest community energy crowdfunding campaigns. The CIC can now launch its community fund which over the 23-year life of the project is forecast to pay £3 million in surplus profits back into the local community.
Initially half of the surplus will be used to support ‘The Sunshine Fund’, a new grant fund for local projects to be managed by the local charitable trust Somerset Community Foundation. The other half will be used help households struggling to pay their energy bills through a fuel poverty advice service managed by the Bristol-based charity Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) working with local partners.
Reaching the £4 million target means that the company has now fully refinanced the short-term loan which was used to purchase the solar farm in the first place and put the 36,000-panel site into community ownership. The rest of the refinance was provided by a £7.4 million long-term loan from Triodos Bank, which completed last December.
The bond offer will remain open to new investors as an institutional investor is willing to have its bond investment scaled back to allow more individuals to invest. See TriodosCrowdFunding.co.uk to find out more.
The solar farm has been in operation for nearly two years and currently generates enough carbon-free electricity to power the equivalent of over 2,000 homes, and to make over £1 million per year in revenue. The solar farm is built on pasture land leased from a local farming family, who continue to graze sheep among the solar panels.
Burnham and Weston Energy CIC worked with CfR and Triodos Bank to develop the bond offer. The bonds are open to anyone that registers on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform and will pay an initial interest rate of 5 per cent a year, which will rise every year with inflation. The initial investment will be repaid in instalments over 18 years. As with all investments, interest payments are not guaranteed, and capital is at risk. The bonds are eligible to be held in a Triodos Innovative Finance ISA which allows investors to earn interest tax-free.
Jake Burnyeat, director of CfR and Burnham and Weston Energy CIC, said: “Reaching Burnham and Weston Energy CIC’s £4 million target is a great achievement. We believe it’s the largest UK community energy bond offer yet and is the cumulation of over two years’ hard work and collaboration. As well as issuing the bonds and welcoming our new ‘1 member 1 vote’ shareholders, Burnham and Weston Energy CIC can now allocate the first £50,000 to supporting local community projects and local households struggling with their energy bills.”
An investment in Burnham and Weston Energy CIC bonds is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Burnham and Weston Energy CIC’s ability to pay the interest and repay the bonds is not guaranteed and is dependent on the continued success of its business model. These bonds are unquoted securities with a fixed repayment date and although the bonds are transferable, investors should be aware that they may not be able to access their capital during the life of the bond.
This financial promotion has been issued and approved by the UK division of Triodos Bank NV (incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with limited liability, registered in England and Wales BR3012). Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request.