Our AGM is on Tuesday 17th April 2018, at 7pm. It will be held at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead, SL6 4PF, where we did our first installation.
A good first full year of generating
2016-17 was our first full year of generating from all our solar panels from our sites at Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead, and The Magna Carta School in Egham, where we have panels on two separate buildings. We were pleased that we generated slightly more electricity than we forecast we would. From October 2016 to September 2017, which is when our financial year runs, we generated 92.6 megawatt hours of electricity, and saved around 13 tons of CO2.
That means we made a profit for the year of £9,000. We are proposing to pay out our first dividend, at 2.5%. We’ll be voting on that at the AGM.
Putting solar panels on the roofs of community buildings is a great way to tackle climate change and help community groups, but at the moment the government cuts to the feed-in tariff means it takes a long time to earn back the cost of installing the panels, and it’s hard to make it viable. If the costs of solar panels and the inverters that connect them to the grid keep falling, that will improve, and we expect they will.
What else have we been up to?
We’ve been working on two possible new ways forward for the community energy movement, with the help of a grant from the Urban Community Energy Fund. We’ve explored the opportunities for solar panels and large-scale batteries on much larger roofs than we’ve looked at before. One was at industrial estates, where we decided that the model is only likely to work when businesses own their own premises rather than renting them. This means we’ve pioneered a good approach for our sector, which we and UCEF will share, but there’s no local opportunity in it for us.
The other option we looked at was working with university campuses, and we think we’ve found a viable partnership at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), in Egham. This year we aim to start a pilot installation at RHUL using the rest of the share capital we have in the bank, just over £24,000. If that goes well, we’ll make a new share offer for a bigger installation.
We also want to thank Mike Austell, who resigned as a Director in order to go back to the U.S. Mike helped us to understand the importance of energy storage, and to explore its potential. Ben Niblett, who works for Tearfund and campaigns on climate change, has offered to stand for election in his place.
We’d love to hear your questions or ideas at any time, not just the AGM. Please do get in touch by emailing email@example.com or via our Facebook page or Twitter @MaidEnergy.
We’re helping produce clean energy to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, serve local community groups, and give a fair return to members.
In September 2016 we finished installing our solar panels at The Magna Carta School in Egham, and now we have the figures for a full year’s generation. They’re looking good.
We’ve generated more than we expected to at each of our sites over the last 12 months – Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead where we have 38.5 kw (kilowatts), 49.4kw on the roof of Magna Carta main site, and 10kw on the roof of Magna Carta S block.
We’re very pleased with that. It means we’ve generated more clean energy than forecast, sold more to the grid than forecast, and reduced our partners at Magna Carta and Norden Farm’s carbon footprints and electricity bills more than forecast too. It means we’re probably on course to start paying interest to shareholders at a rate of 3% for 2017. We’ll be confirming the recommended amount and putting it to members at our AGM early in 2018. We’ll also be able to confirm whether we’ve just had a sunnier year than average or we’ve been too conservative with our generation forecasts and should expect more each year in future – we’ll compare with other solar generators in the area to see.
We are really excited to be promoting new forms of energy with a Love Smoothie bike at this weekend’s Egham Magna Carta day and next weekend’s Virginia Water Carnival Capers. Both events are fun community events with stalls from local Scouts and Guides, sports clubs, charities and businesses. You are sure to find plenty to watch and enjoy if you come along.
While you are there come and make a smoothie on a Love Smoothie bike and chat to us on the MaidEnergy stand. MaidEnergy seek to develop and deliver local renewable energy projects and engage communities, individuals and local businesses in doing that. If you’ve got an idea for a project, whether it be solar panels for your street, or draught proofing the house of your elderly neighbour, we’d like to help you make that happen. The more people get involved, the more local needs we can meet.
We have already mobilised investors and put solar panels on The Magna Carta School and Norden Farm Arts Centre. These panels are on track to produce enough low carbon energy to power 25 homes each year. All funded by people looking for an ethical investment and wanting to give something back to the community.
So come and talk with some of our existing volunteers at one of these events.
Then what better use for your very own personal renewable energy, than making smoothies on a hot June day? There’ll be plenty of cake and food stalls on hand for you to renew your energy once you’ve worked hard to make a smoothie on one of our bikes.
We’ve also got a solar panel display and are on hand with discounted LED spotlights to help you reduce your energy consumption and bills in your own home.
MaidEnergy AGM Invitation
25th March, 11am – Magna Carta School, Thorpe Road, Staines Upon Thames, TW18 3HJ
Thanks to our members’ investments, MaidEnergy was able to install clean, renewable energy at the Magna Carta School and Norden Farm Arts Centre last year. Come and hear more about how MaidEnergy achieved this and our plans for the coming year. We have an exciting line up of speakers who will give their insights into the future of the energy world.
11am – Refreshments and a tour of the solar panel installation at the Magna Carta School
11:30 am – Leah Robson and Sean Walters, MaidEnergy Directors: The Future for Solar in the UK. Grid flexibility, electric cars and battery storage are the big changes supporting the future growth of solar in the UK, but how do these things fit together?
11:50 am – Nicola Davidson, MaidEnergy Director and Grants/Funding Expert: The Future for MaidEnergy. MaidEnergy currently have a grant from the Urban Community Energy Fund to find a way forward to community energy following the FiT cuts. Hear about how we are progressing and who we’re working with.
12:05 pm – Annual General Meeting, Chairs Report, Treasurer’s Report and election of Directors. This is your chance to ask questions and put forward ideas.
12:30 pm – Mike Austell, MaidEnergy Director and Energy Consultant: The Battery of the Future. Mike will present on a different kind of battery, designed to be used at scale to help balance the grid demand at large industrial sites.
12:45pm – 1:00pm Lunch and close.
Parking is available on site. Any queries, or to confirm attendance, please contact us at MaidEnergy@outlook.com. You can view the Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2016 here.
The Directors of MaidEnergy are pleased to announce that we have now launched a new share offer. Click here for the share offer document, which you must read before deciding to purchase shares.
Here are some key facts to consider before deciding whether to invest, but do remember you must read the share offer document for full details:
- MaidEnergy have already installed 38.5kW of solar pv, that’s 140 panels at Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead.
- Our first share offer raised £129,700
- This has paid for the Norden Farm installation and the rest of the funds will be put towards our next 3 installations.
- We are now offering the chance to buy shares in the next 3 installations we have pre-registered at a guaranteed subsidy rate – St Anne’s Heath School and two 50kW installations at Magna Carta School
What has changed since Share Offer one?
Sadly, the government has removed the availability of the SEIS tax break for Cooperative Energy investments. However, the good news is that for this share offer, interest is still anticipated to be 2.9% per annum on the sum invested in the first full calendar year and to increase by about 1% per year, until it reaches the cap of the higher of 5% or base rate plus 2%. The society anticipates holding its annual general meeting in about September each year and distributing share interest shortly afterwards.
How to Buy Shares
Simply read the share offer document and apply by post using the form at the back of the document, or buy shares online at Microgenius. If you have any queries you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the Contact form found here.
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The great news is that we have now completed our first installation.
The installation work at Norden Farm completed on 23rd December, installing 38.5kW of solar panels onto 4 different roofs. This equates to 140 panels and enough electricity to power 560 LED lightbulbs 24×7 throughout the year.
The feed in tariff application was submitted to Good Energy on the 23rd December, well in time for the end of the pre-registration period that finished on 28th December. This means that MaidEnergy will receive the higher rate feed in tariff that we registered this installation for back in December 2014.
As of 6th January 2016 we had generated 247kWhrs of electricity. Thanks to all our investors and here’s to lots more energy generated from the sun in 2016.
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As our share offer was due to close on 5th November, MaidEnergy had raised £37,000 of share capital in just 3 weeks.
This is a really exciting amount, but not enough to start our projects. However, we always knew that we were working in an ambitious timeframe brought about by the proposed changes to solar energy subsidies. Following the other changes to SEIS tax relief (see earlier blog and share offer document for an explanation of this), the Directors have decided to extend the share offer until 18th November.
This means that eligible tax payers will still be able to get 50% tax relief on their investments in our share offer. We are also talking with another Co-operative about a loan to help us reach our share offer target.
Keep applying for shares and watch this space.
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What is SEIS?
SEIS or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme is an incredibly generous tax scheme to help encourage new enterprises. Individual tax payers will be eligible for 50% of their investment back as tax relief in the first year.
MaidEnergy is a Community Benefit Society, a kind of social enterprise and therefore was eligible for the scheme. I say was, because the government recently moved to change all this. In order for your investment in community energy to be eligible for SEIS you need to have applied for shares by 18th November.
The best place for information about SEIS is here https://www.crowdcube.com/pg/seis-tax-relief-42#benefits
What does this mean for MaidEnergy?
MaidEnergy is still committed to doing as many as possible of our 6 installations before October next year. However, the income for investors will be less after the 18th November. Therefore we are urging as many people as possible to invest before then.
We will continue to fundraise and hope to still get more investment after this date, but we realise it will be harder. However, if you are looking for a local, ethical investment, 4.3% is still not a bad rate of return.
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We are seeking to crowdsource the funding to put solar panels on the roofs of community buildings in our local area. It’s as simple as that. To help you along the way to understanding more, here are….
5 Reasons to Invest in Community Energy:
1. It benefits the environment: Most scientists now agree that global warming is caused by CO2 gas in the atmosphere and most of it has been put there by human activity.
Solar power emits less CO2 for each kW of power than fossil fuels. An average solar panel has a carbon footprint of 72g¹CO2e/kWh compared with 487 for gas or 870 for coal fired power.
2. It benefits the community: Owners of schools, arts centres, leisure centres etc. don’t generally have the up front money to put solar panels on the roofs of their buildings. This way, we do it for them and they benefit from lower energy bills. We estimate it will save our building occupiers £64,000 over 20 years. That’s lots more money to spend on what they’re really good at – providing services to our local community.
3. It’s an ethical investment: Many of us worry about what use the money we invest gets put to by the people we entrust it to. This way, your money is invested in local projects where you can see the benefits as you walk around our neighbourhood.
4. You may be eligible for a tax break: the best explanation of this can be found here, but if you are eligible you could get 50% of the sum you’ve invested back as a reduction in your tax bill.
5. You get a decent return on your investment: more details about this can be found in our Share Offer document, but we are hoping to offer 4.3% p.a., which is not to be sniffed at.