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Community Energy Fortnight 2016 – Visit to Merston Solar Farm

 CommunityEnergyFortnight

Community Energy Fortnight 2016

Visit to Merston Solar Farm

 

Date: 4 Sep 16

Time: 11:00am at Chichester Railway Station to cycle to the site

Region: West Sussex

Location: Merston (South of Chichester) – see map

Meadow Blue logoEnergy type: 5MW Solar PV

Event type: Open day

Event theme: Seeing and celebrating

Host: Meadow Blue Community Energy

Cost: Free

Book tickets for this event contact: dave.barton@meadowblue-energy.org

MerstonSolarFarm

Meadow Blue Community Energy directors have arranged an open day to visit the 5MW solar farm at Merston between Chichester and Bognor Regis on 4th September. Investors and supporters are welcome to come. You may come along directly to the site (Midday), but for those who would like to join us on bikes, we will be leaving Chichester railway station at 11am for a short ride of just over 4 miles. You should be able to return to Chichester by 2pm, allowing for a coffee or lunch stop at the nearby Manor Farm café, which is on the way back.

For those who want to visit another local community farm and stretch their cycling legs by a further 19 miles (23 in total), there is an option for a further visit to Ferry Farm Solar near Selsey, returning to Chichester around 4pm.

MerstonSiteMap

Site Map – Solar Farm in Red, station marked with a star

For cycling be at Chichester Railway station for 11am.

By car or walking be at the site for Midday for the main celebration.

Google Map for cycle route.

Sussex residents embrace local energy

Meadow Blue logo£1.248 million is raised for a community solar project near Chichester, double the original target

Almost half the investors in Meadow Blue Community Energy’s community-owned solar farm in Merston near Chichester came from within 35 miles of the project.  The share offer was one of 15 launched across the country in the month following the announcement of the Treasury’s removal of Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief on community energy projects, and raised the largest amount.

Chris Rowland Chairman of Meadow Blue Community Energy says, “We are delighted that there was an overwhelming response to our community share offer, particularly with 48% of investors coming from within 35 miles of the solar farm, including a number of existing OVESCO share holders (around 15%) all investing in the future of local clean energy. We look forward to working with our new members and locally based energy company Solesco to develop the community benefit fund to encourage local energy efficiency and low carbon sustainable projects.”

Dave Barton, Director of Meadow Blue Community Energy and locally based Solesco commented, “In three weeks we have been able to raise these funds, and in doing so giving local people a chance to invest in local renewable energy.  This is a really good message for our future generations and for tackling climate change. Solesco is proud to be involved with this project which seeks to engage local communities.”

15 community benefit societies (bencoms) running solar projects across the UK have announced their fundraising totals, with four funds securing investments of over £1 million for their share offers.

Top of the list of bencoms was Sussex’s Meadow Blue which raised £1.248 million. The share offer launched with an initial target of £640,000, but this was increased to £1.14 million following such strong demand for shares.

Jan Willem Bode of Mongoose Energy – which worked with Meadow Blue, said: “This exceptional rate of investment in community renewable projects shows there is wide-scale support for community energy to be a significant player in the industry in the UK. With it happening within a week of the announced plan to shut coal-fired stations, I think we will look back at this moment and realise this is the beginning of truly locally owned, low carbon power.

”While the removal of EIS is an odd blow for George Osborne to land on the same day as the UN Climate Change Conference, it has helped to raise awareness and interest in these opportunities and these investment figures shows that people want to invest in ethical, local energy sources.”

Emma Bridge of Community Energy England said: “Community Energy plays a key part in helping to add renewable energy capacity whilst also enabling programmes such as those that reduce energy poverty. This investment level is fantastic and really demonstrates the level of support that there is for community energy and the extra benefits it brings.”

Meadow Blue community investment target already met, so we’re releasing more community shares

Brilliant news! The original target for the Meadow Blue community share issue of £640,000 towards a community-owned solar farm between Chichester and Bognor has already been met with a week to go. So, we’ve decided to change how the project is financed in order to create more community investment and a further £500,000 of community shares have been released. This means that more investors can participate in this local renewable energy project and benefit from an expected return of around 7%.

Meadow Blue Community Energy (MBCE) is a Community Benefit Society (owned by its members, the share-holders) which will own the community solar farm that will be built at Merston. This has been developed as a partnership between Solesco, Lewes-based OVESCO and Mongoose Energy, a Wiltshire-based community energy developer.

Come and meet the team

Following a successful event at the Vicars’ Hall on Tuesday 17 November, there is another opportunity to meet the team TONIGHT at:

Oxfords Bar, Bognor Regis, on 19th November 6-9pm at, 13 High Street, Bognor Regis PO21 1RJ

There will be short presentation at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm with plenty of opportunities for questions and discussions.

Check the share offer, to invest now:  https://www.ethex.org.uk/MeadowBlue
Closing date for share application is 24 November

Please consider investing in this project as it is located in our neighbourhood and will be a great way to get involved in a local renewable energy project. It will not only reduce our carbon footprint but also assist local communities with reducing energy consumption and give investors a good financial return.

Dave and Tom on behalf of Solesco

Solesco200

Meadow Blue – Meet the Directors

Our land, our energy, our community

Solesco200

Now is the time to invest in the community solar farm at Merston, which is being run by Meadow Blue Community Energy (MBCE), a partnership between Solesco, Lewes-based OVESCO and Mongoose Energy, a Wiltshire-based community energy developer.

Come along to one of these events to find out more:

Chichester: 17th November 4-6pm or 6-8pm at Vicars’ Hall, The Royal Chantry, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1PX.

Bognor Regis: 19th November 6-9pm (short presentations at 6, 7 and 8) at Oxfords Bar, 13 High Street, Bognor Regis PO21 1RJ

Check the share offer, to invest now:  https://www.ethex.org.uk/MeadowBlue
Closing date for share application is 24 November

We are very excited by this new development, as it comes at a crucial time for solar energy in the UK. This is one of the first in the UK to share a connection to the grid with another commercial developer, and as we see it, the last time to get tax relief (EIS) on any community energy project.

More importantly it establishes MBCE as a local community energy company on our doorstep, Merston sitting between Chichester and Bognor Regis. As a Community Benefit Society, we hope to generate a fund of around £4 million over 25 years for energy efficiency, carbon-reduction and fuel poverty alleviation projects in our community. Much bigger in scale than many roof-top installations, this photovoltaic array provides a reasonable return on investment as well as creating this sizeable community fund.

Our plans for this solar farm extend beyond generating some much needed renewable electricity. We will be increasing the bio-diversity on this agricultural land with wildflower planting. It also provides an opportunity for us to work with various small-holders to explore how we can create a useful additional harvest from the land.

Please consider investing soon as a local investor and share in the success of this venture. Every investor has the same voting rights regardless of size of investment.

Dave and Tom on behalf of Solesco

Solar investment, but perhaps not the one you were expecting!

Exciting news:

 Well some great news, with some bad news:

University of Chichester

After 18 months of negotiation and discussions with the University of Chichester over 2 roof-mounted Photovoltaic systems, the business case has become increasingly unfeasible and we have had to draw a line under it. The Government’s proposed aggressive reduction in FIT tariff has caused our preferred installer to go into liquidation and whilst we have found another supplier who claimed to meet the new installation deadlines of the December 31st, some unforeseen technical issues have escalated costs and created uncertainty over timescales.

Renewable energy reflections

Whilst we can hope that this Government might take note of the recent consultation responses, the UK solar industry is in disarray at the moment. So we will reflect on their response in the New Year and will continue to look at how we, as a community energy co-operative, could work on community-funded renewable and energy efficiency projects across the Arun and Chichester districts. Please let us know if there are particular interests or projects that you would like to see us pursue.

Local Solar farm

Now for the exciting good news! We are pleased to announce today the launch of a community share offer for Meadow Blue Community Energy, where we have partnered with Lewes-based OVESCO and the Wiltshire-based developer Mongoose Energy to create a new Community Benefit Society to deliver a 5MW solar farm. Located between Chichester and Bognor Regis near the village of Merston, it is one of the first in the UK to benefit from a split-site Government incentive where it sits alongside a more conventional, commercial 5MW installation. Because of its scale and structure, it can offer an attractive interest rate for community investors as well as deliver over £4M in community investment over 25 years. There is short window to sign up for this so we invite you to invest and become a member of this new Community Benefit Society. We would like as many local people to invest as possible in what may become an over-subscribed national offer.
www.ethex.org.uk/MeadowBlue

A meet-the-directors event for people to find out more will be held on Tuesday 17th November, with sessions running from 4-6pm and 6-8pm. It will take place at Vicar’s Hall, The Royal Chantry, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester PO19 1PX. The share offer closes on the 24th November.
Meadow Blue Event flier- social media

Future of Community Energy locally

We are hosting 2 evenings to explore the concepts of Community Energy.

Wednesday, 1st July, 7.30pm Bassil Shippam Centre, Tozer Way, Chichester, PO19 7LG
Tuesday, 7th July, 7.30pm, Jubilee Hall, New Park Centre, Chichester, PO19 7XY

You are invited to hear about the latest developments, and to:

  • Learn how you can help create a cleaner energy future
  • Consider investing in local renewable energy projects
  • Help us shape the future together, and
  • Join our energy community

The events are free of charge and open to anyone from the Chichester and Arun Districts

University of Chichester agrees to Solar PV project

The University of Chichester and Solesco are delighted to announce that a solar PV project has been agreed between them. The project has been subject to extensive investigation and negotiation and is now at the detailed planning stage.
The roofs of two buildings on the Chichester campus have been selected to host two solar PV arrays.
Together these will be about 150kW and would generate enough electricity over the year to supply over 40 homes. The project will cost about £200,000. This money will be raised by a share issue. The investors should get a 6% return on their investment and the University will get cheaper electricity for 20 years as well as reducing their carbon emissions.


Article published in Chichester Observer May 19 2015