Millions invested in community energy before tax relief deadline

Community energy groups have reported a last minute rush of investors, as the deadline for tax relief passes.

As previously reported in Public Sector Energy, the Government ended EIS, SEIS and SITR tax relief measures for subsidised community energy projects on 30 November.  

The surprise announcement prompted many community energy groups to launch last-minute investment campaigns.

The environmental charity 10:10’s Clean Energy Dash campaign pulled together 28 projects with live share offers – from wind in the Shetland Isles to solar on schools in Dorset – on an interactive website.

10:10’s Community Energy Campaigner Jesse Scharf said 22 of these projects have now hit their full projects and more than £14.5m has been raised since the start of November.

In addition, three projects that did not have specific targets - BEC, BEHESCO and Cornwall - will reopen at some point

And another scheme raised £500,000 and will be looking for more funding in 2016.

Exeter Community Energy raised 100% of its £390,000 investment target to cover the installation of solar panels on nine rooftops across the city. 

These rooftops will have a combined capacity of around 300kWp of solar and the money was raised in under three weeks. 

On the day the tax relief ended (30 November), it was also announced that national energy provider, Anesco, has joined forces with Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC) on its latest scheme.

The project will see a £5 million solar park brought into community ownership, as part of a larger £10.5 million project portfolio BEC is currently raising funds for.

“At Anesco we have a strong heritage that has been based on regeneration, supporting the local communities in which we operate and a commitment to helping tackle fuel poverty,” said Anesco’s commercial director, Delvin Lane.

“Therefore, it was a natural step for us to become one of the first owner/operators in the UK to develop community-led renewables schemes.”

“We are currently working on a portfolio of eight community schemes that are at various stages of build and operation, with more in the pipeline – and that’s something we’re incredibly proud of,” he added.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues