Woodside High School
en10ergy has raised about £95,000 through a sale of Community Shares to install photovoltaic panels on roofs at Woodside High School in Wood Green. The panels are owned and maintained by en10ergy, who sell the electricity they generate to the school at a discount from the usual market price. Electricity sales and the government’s Feed In Tariff, which everyone who installs pv panels is entitled to, will provide en10ergy with an income to pay its investors.
The price en10ergy charges for its electricity will save the school, and Riverside School for special needs, which shares the power supply, about £1400, and all of us about 34 tons of carbon emissions, every year. en10ergy will also provide a grant towards developiing educational material which can use information from the solar panels for teaching in the schools, and will assist in the delivery of a suitable and creative teaching aid.
New ways to finance community energy
We are innovating in the financial model used to raise capital for these projects. Since government support for the renewables industry has been drastically reduced in recent years, driving a number of small providers out of business, it has been necessary to look for new ways of making community energy projects financially viable and appealing to those who would like to invest in them.
In this project we have not adopted the previously usual twenty-year investment timetable. (This has been the norm because it matches the period for which Feed In Tariff payments are guaranteed.) We will use the secure income from our existing generating facilities to back our current project by ensuring an interest rate on our shares of about 4% a year, and paying back a proportion of the capital invested each year as well.
By doing this we can reduce the period of payback on the investment to 12 years. We feel that, for many people who invest in socially beneficial projects like this, the period of twelve years will be a more attractive offer.
Full details of our spring 2017 share offer can be seen in the brochure issued at the time. (The offer is now completed and closed.)
en10ergy intends to extend the provision of solar electricity in local schools. At Woodside School some technical and structural problems prevented installation of the whole projected solar array, and so we have moved immediately to look at other sites which we had identified as suitable for further installations on local schools and sports facilities.
The money in hand from our recent Community Shares sale will provide an initial installation at one of these sites, and the work can then be extended subject to negotiations with site owners, and raising of further community investment funds.
We will also be helped by a new initiative from the Mayor of London, who is now offering financial support for the initial stages of clean-energy projects, where money is required up-front for site surveys and the design of proposals, as part of a policy to improve London’s environment.