Shropshire residents can now buy shares in Whitchurch solar farm
Shropshire and Telford Community Energy has launched a share offer with the aim of bringing a solar farm into community ownership.
Shropshire people have been invited to invest in Twemlows solar farm, near Whitchurch, and earn a return of 6 per cent while also supporting local green energy generation.
A share offer launched on Monday to fund the transfer of Twemlows solar farm into community ownership.
The aim of the offer is to enable people who care about climate change to put their money to work to tackle the issue directly, earn a fair return on their investment, and increase the solar farm’s economic contribution to the local area.
Robert Saunders, chair of Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE), said: “Our aim is to raise the capital needed to purchase this highly efficient operating solar farm and deliver a substantial increase in community benefits for many years to come.
"We have ambitions to develop other community energy projects, and are working on a heat and wind project in Bishop’s Castle.
"Twemlows is supporting a cleaner, greener, fairer future helping to accelerate the transition to net zero and we hope lots of local people will join us on the journey.”
STCE has already distributed £22,500 from the Twemlows community fund this year. Once it is community-owned, it is expected to generate a community benefit pot of £4.5 million over the next 18 years.
Twemlows solar farm has been in operation since 2016 and it supplies enough electricity for the equivalent of 3,400 average homes, saving over 4,000 tonnes of carbon per year.
Local projects which have already been supported include support for Whitchurch Blackberry Fair and the maintenance of wildlife areas at Queensway playing fields near Whitchurch.
The Park Lane Centre in Telford has also been supported with new lighting and rainwater harvesting.
The centre provides a range of services for all ages in the local community including a 'knit and natter' group, Park Lane Bowls, health and fitness classes, children's groups, citizen's advice and a community library.
Centre manager Jacqui Idiens said: “We wanted the children to have hands-on experience of conservation of resources, so harvesting rainwater to water their seeds and plants is a perfect lesson for them in their early lives.
"The LED lights will be making a small but significant reduction in the centre’s running costs.”
The share offer is being launched on positive investment platform Ethex with a target annual return of 6 per cent. The minimum investment is £250 and the total target is £730,000.
Shareholders will become a member of Shropshire and Telford Community Energy on a 'one vote per shareholder' basis and have a say in how the benefit company is run in future.
The share offer will be open until October 27 but may close earlier if fully subscribed.
To find out more about STCE visit stcenergy.org.uk.