We are very pleased to announce our latest investment into the UK’s largest community energy project, Heart of England Community Energy near Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwickshire.
The investment from SASC’s recently relaunched Third Sector Investment Fund (TSIF)* is our fifth in this sector, with a total commitment to community energy of just under £10m.
Heart of England Community Energy will be the largest community owned energy company by generating capacity in the UK. It will generate enough electricity to power around 4,500 homes and deliver £4.8m in local community benefits over the project’s 20 year lifetime.
Working with Mongoose Energy, SASC provided £6.2m of junior capital to fund the acquisition of the three operating solar farms from a commercial developer and put them in community ownership. The loan will be repaid via a series of community share and bond offers in the autumn, to be hosted on Mongoose’s proprietary crowdfunding platform, Mongoose Crowd.
The transaction highlights the significant desire within many communities to take control of local energy generation. Social investment will continue to play an important role in facilitating such opportunities.
Benjamin Rick, Co-Founder and Managing Director of SASC said, “This financing underpins SASC’s strategy to fund more community-owned assets that deliver real social impact and enable people to take a stake in their local energy infrastructure.
“SASC are delighted to have worked with Mongoose for a second time. This transaction from the relaunched Third Sector Investment Fund takes our total commitment to the UK’s community energy sector to just under £10 million.”
In addition to Portworthy Community Energy, SASC’s other investments in the sector to date include solar farms in Bristol, Plymouth and Buckinghamshire and wind turbines in Gloucestershire. These projects will generate £8m of community surplus, produce electricity for over 10,000 homes and give local people the opportunity to subscribe to over £3.5m in community shares and bonds.
SASC’s Third Sector Investment Fund was relaunched in July this year as a result of a consultation exercise with social sector organisations about what they needed from social investment. After taking into account feedback from the sector, the new fund offers more flexible investment and repayment terms, longer investment periods of up to 15 years and higher levels of support from the SASC team throughout the investment process.
*The majority of SASC’s investment in Heart of England Community Energy came from the Third Sector Investment Fund (TSIF) with the remainder provided through the Community Investment Fund (CIF).