Middleton Community Power’s first project is to install solar panels on a range of buildings across Middleton.
Money will be raised through a community share offer designed to allow people (and organisations) to invest in projects that support their local community.
This model has been used very successfully in many different places. A good local example is Greater Manchester Community Renewables who have used it to install solar panels on nine primary schools to the west of the city.
The process is quite simple:
Raise funds for a community share offer
Community share offers are designed to allow people (and organisations) buy shares to invest in projects that support their local community. Every shareholder becomes a member of the community benefit society and will be able to vote at elections of the directors who run the society.
Use this to fund installation of solar panels
A roof lease is agreed by which the site owner allows the community benefit society to install panels on their roof and have access to maintain them. We hope to use local installers to do this.
Sell the electricity to local users at a reduced rate
Any electricity generated that can be used on site is sold to the user at reduced rate which is possible because we have very low overheads. If the user needs more electricity, or electricity at times when the panels are not generating it, then they can buy that at standard rates from their usual supplier. If more electricity is generated than the user needs, then this is sold back to the National Grid. Once this is set up electricity use and billing is an automatic process requiring no input from the user (other than to pay their bills!).
We hope in future that we may be able to sell to other electricity users in Middelton, but this is currently not possible.
Use the proceeds to repay shareholders with interest
The price at which electricity is sold to users is calculated to allow shareholders to receive an interest payment each year and for the capital to be paid back over a ten- or twenty-year period.
We are currently putting together a portfolio of sites for a share offer some time next year. Sites must have a suitable roof, be able to use the electricity generated on-site and the owners must be willing to agree to twenty-year roof lease and power purchase agreements (see here for details). If you think your site would be suitable and would like to join us then please contact us at email@example.com.