Greater Brockley solar investment scheme opens for round two

Last year, a local group called SE London Community Energy (SELCE) successfully raised £250,000 to invest in solar energy projects in the Greater Brockley area [full disclosure: I was a small investor in the enterprise]. They are now seeking to expand by raising a further £120,000. SELCE Chair Camilla Berens explains:

Ashmead Primary School in St. John’s is now benefitting from a significant drop in its electricity bills thanks to the 184 solar panels that were recently installed on its roof areas.  Ashmead is one of four local primary schools to have benefitted from the pioneering work of a 15-strong renewable energy co-operative (which includes three Brockleyites) called South East London Community Energy (SELCE).

At the end of last year, SELCE raised an impressive £250,000 to install solar arrays on the four schools through a ‘community share offer’. This type of share offer is rather like ‘crowdfunding’ but SELCE offers investors annual interest payments of four percent - which is an attractive proposition compared with the interest offered by most high street savings accounts or ISAs.

The co-operative’s aim is to develop renewable energy that is not only generated locally but that is also owned and governed by the people who use it. Any surplus it generates from the solar projects is ploughed back into SELCE’s sister scheme which runs pop-up energy advice cafes that are designed to reduce fuel poverty in SE London. so far, the team has put in over 6,000 volunteer-hours to bring the projects to life and SELCE has won some VIP supporters.

SELCE is now hoping to raise a further £120,000 to install solar arrays on three more local primary schools. The share offer closes on August 4th and the minimum investment is £250. Share can be withdrawn after three years and investors who retain their shares will receive 4% annual interest for the 20 years of the project.

Our team is already over half way there, with £80,000 in the pot.  This is the last opportunity, for the foreseeable future, that local people will be able to support SELCE and get a ‘thank you’ in the form of annual interest payments.

The government recently changed the rules relating to subsidies for renewable energy projects like ours and we’re urging everyone to make the most of our community share offer while they can. We hope that SELCE’s offer will attract even more positive interest now that the prospect of negative interest has appeared on the horizon.”

You can find more information on SELCE and its share offer on its website or on the Crowdfunder website.