Our Services

What is Community Energy?

The future of energy is locally generated, locally owned, low carbon and smart. The energy industry is already changing with new supply companies beginning to challenge the ‘big six’ and commercial models emerging that enable small consumers and generators to become active participants in the energy market. We support pro-active localities to set up and run community energy enterprises which aim to reduce and localise energy spend, generate income to re-invest in the community, tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.

Local energy enterprises can be set up by volunteers, local councils or housing associations to serve their locality. Community energy enterprises have also been set up to serve a specific charitable purpose or organisation. Energy spend  is  a  significant  drain  on  local  economies;  15%  of  earned  income  in some  of  the  localities for which CfR  is working. Effective local energy enterprises can make a huge difference to local economies. We offer a number of services to support this:

Startup Support

Investment Support

Company Management

Asset Management

Community Energy Enterprise Startup Support

We help local energy enterprises to develop, finance and manage renewable energy generation projects that are owned by and run for the benefit of the local community. We also provide strategic advice to help develop and implement a wide  range  of  local energy  business  models  that  help  reduce,  stabilise  and  localise  energy  spend  and  earn income to re-invest in the local community.

  • Organisation set-up and governance mentoring. CfR can advise on the range of legal structures (including community benefit society and community interest company) and help register your enterprise. CfR is a Co-operative Development Body (CDB) and has worked with Co-operatives UK to develop a set of model rules for a community energy enterprise set up as a community benefit society.
  • Local energy economy strategies. Quantify the cost of energy (electricity, heat and transport) to your locality and implications in terms of fuel poverty and value drain. Assess the potential value to the local economy of reducing and localizing energy spend through the development of a range of local energy business models.
  • Business planning and development. CfR can help you develop a business plan for a local energy enterprise appropriate to your locality, and provide ongoing mentoring support to help develop and grow it.
  • Renewable energy project feasibility. Area wide opportunities studies and site-specific technical and financial feasibility assessments for all technologies including solar PV (stand alone and roof-top), wind, hydro, renewable heat, A.D., and marine energy.
  • Renewable energy project development. Technical, commercial and project management support to help take your projects through the development process including: planning (and associated technical studies), site owner agreements, community engagement, grid connection, procurement and construction.

CfR is an advisory company. We earn income through consultancy fees which in some cases may be part contingent on success of delivering a project.

CfR has worked with over 20 local energy enterprises since it was set up in 2012 on projects ranging from multiple building-scale installations to large-scale community wind and solar projects. Our experience includes:

  • Worked with Plymouth Energy Community to set up PEC Renewables and the development and financing of over £2.5million of community-owned roof-top solar PV installations.
  • Helped a number of local energy enterprises with company registration and setting up governance arrangements.
  • Working with PEC Renewables (Plymouth) to develop a MW-scale community solar project on brown field land, including provision of development funding from CfR’s development fund
  • Worked with 7 local energy enterprises to identify and develop community solar (both roof-top and ground mounted) projects with funding from the Rural and Urban Community Energy Funds, including securing the first conditional offer for stage 2 loan funding
  • Advising a South West local authority on feasibility and business model options for community energy generation on Council-owned land and provided mentoring support to the officer team to help them manage the development of a MW-scale community solar project in-house
  • Advising the South West Devon Community Energy Partnership on local energy business models (including potential council participation) and working with 6 member groups to identify potential sites for community hydro, wind and solar PV projects

Investment Support

From feasibility grants and community share offers to commercial investment, we can help raise the funds required to make your local energy project happen. We have a track record of getting community renewable energy projects, large and small, off the ground and can guide you through a range of fundraising strategies to find the best approach for you.

  • Procurement and management of legal and financial advisers
  • Marketing strategy and delivery support
  • Business planning and financial modelling
  • Provision of template documentation
  • Share offer document drafting
  • Compliance and best practice
  • Set up share offer and ongoing administration arrangements
  • Grants, loans and refinancing support
  • Helped raise over £300,000 of grant funding for community energy enterprises to support feasibility and business development work and overheads costs
  • Raised £450,000 of ‘risk’ development funding through CfR’s own SEIS share offer (which pioneered the use of SEIS/EIS eligible preferred ordinary shares) and a seed investment loan from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • Provided commercial support to help PEC Renewables raise over £2.5million through two separate community share offers and loan finance from Plymouth City Council
  • Currently raising finance for community energy projects with a combined value of over £20million
  • Developed financing strategies and business plans for community energy projects ranging from portfolios of building integrated technologies to large-scale wind and solar projects
  • Visit our “Invest in Community Energy” page for more information on past projects

Company Management

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  • Director mentoring and strategic advice
  • Compliance and best practice
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Company filing and administration
  • Online presence (website and social media) management
  • Regular market research to optimise revenue streams
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Asset Management

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  • Full daily performance monitoring
  • Management of O&M contractors – to ensure fast resolution of faults
  • Periodic technical and financial performance reporting
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We have supported over 20 community energy enterprises around the UK

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