AN ENERGY co-operative based in Shoreham Harbour is offering investment opportunities in phase two of its solar energy project.
The first phase of the Brighton Energy Coop (BEC) scheme, a large solar array of 214kWp on Shed 10 at Shoreham Port, is being completed this week and the solar panels are due to be switched on in January.
Phase two of the project, which is almost exactly the same size, will be installed on Shed 3a at Shoreham Port next year.
The solar panels being placed on roofs in Shoreham Harbour are part of a three-phase project which will become the county’s largest community-owned solar energy scheme.
Among those who have already benefited is a church in Portslade that can now host bigger community events, thanks to saving £2,400 in energy costs over the last 18 months.
The CityCoast Church took advantage of the scheme when it was first launched.
Manager Simon Lewis said: “While the cost saving and the environmental benefits of hosting BEC’s solar panels are important, it’s the work the scheme allows us to do in the community that’s really valuable.
“At our annual Carols by the Coast service, not only did we put on free food, drink and carols for people, but we were able to raise money for Brighton-based domestic abuse charity Rise on the night.
“This is just one example of how we are using our energy cost savings for the benefit of local people, and it’s this ripple effect that BEC’s solar scheme has throughout the community that makes it such a worthwhile project to be involved with.”
The solar energy scheme is now looking to raise a further £240,000 by selling shares to members of the public.
People can invest between £300 and £20,000 and the money will be used to fund the installation of the solar panels. The deadline for buying shares is February 28, 2014.
Investors are expected to receive an ROI (return on investment) of about five per cent annum and, in return for lending its roof space, Shoreham Port will receive discounted electricity for 25 years.
Will Cottrell, Brighton Energy Coop chairman, said: “We are delighted to launch phase two of our community-owned solar scheme. It’s a great opportunity for local people to get involved in and own a renewable energy project in the city.
“By investing in Brighton Energy Coop, people are helping local organisations such as CityCoast Church put more resources into supporting their community and less into paying expensive energy bills, and ensuring local businesses such as Shoreham Port remain competitive and continue to be important employers in the city.”
For information on investing in the second phase of the scheme, visit www.brightonenergy.org.uk for more details.