Community buildings across Bristol could be fitted with solar panels

A SCHEME which would see community buildings across Bristol fitted with solar panels has been launched by a green energy company. The aim of the £5 million project is to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 2,300 homes in the city.

The project is being organised Bristol Energy Cooperative which is looking to raise the money from investors in the city and will also include two solar farms. A new share and bond offer was launched at the start of the month and just under £650,000 has already been raised. The share offer has raised more money than the Co-op's previous two offers combined and comes as Bristol's year as European Green Capital draws to a close. The Coop says the scheme will bring long-term financial and social benefits to the city and increase sustainable energy supplies.

Investors will also receive a solid return with an expected five per cent per year with investments ranging from £50 to £100,000. As well as the financial returns, the community will gets subsidised clean energy and surplus income from the projects will go into a community benefit fund, projected to reach £4 million over 25 years. The Co-op is also accepting investments in Bristol Pounds. Solar panels will be installed on 20 community building across Bristol reducing their carbon emissions and their fuel bills, including Brentry Children's Centre, the SOFA project in Old Market and Hartcliffe Community Farm.

Bristol Energy Cooperative is also running a bond offer, which will launch on Monday 7 December. Investors will receive a six per cent projected return on their investment over three years with a minimum investment of £500. Andy O'Brien, codirector at the Coop, said: "We've been overwhelmed by the response to our share offer. "In just a few weeks, we've raised more than ever before. Now it's time to push on with our new share offer and theCommunity buildings across Bristol could be fitted with solar panels upcoming bond offer in order to make our ambitious solar projects happen.

"Bristol has the chance to be a shining example of how community-owned clean energy can make a lasting impact." Bristol mayor George Ferguson said: "This is exactly the kind of grassroots initiative that will carry forward the good work already done in Bristol this year under European Green Capital 2015.

"I encourage people from all around the city to get behind this, Own It, and help to transform Bristol into a clean energy city with local investment that will also make you some money." Lisa, who's new to Bristol, decided to invest in the scheme right away. She said: "I visited Germany recently and was so impressed by all the solar panels I saw. "When I came back to the UK I wondered why are we so slow to go solar? It's no use feeling like that if I don't do anything about it so that's why I want to invest. "I'm 60 and this is for my children's and grandchildren's future. I'm new to Bristol and as it's European Green Capital, it's the perfect time to invest in sustainable energy."

The Co-op is building on two previous successful share offers, which financed the installation of solar panels on six community buildings in the city, including Easton Community Centre, Hamilton House, and Knowle West Media Centre.

Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Community-buildings-Bristol-fitted-solar-panels/story-28269170-detail/story.html#ixzz3t3syZT00

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