New community solar project launches at Furze Platt Senior School.
MaidEnergy community share offer opens for investment.
MaidEnergy, a not-for-profit, volunteer-led organisation introducing renewable energy to some of the borough’s biggest and most-used buildings, launches their latest low carbon share offer for a solar project at Maidenhead’s Furze Platt Senior School on 10 May 2023.
The new share offer will see the installation of 240kW of solar PV on the roof of the school, adding to the existing 35kW installed in 2020. MaidEnergy’s biggest installation to date will provide FPSS with a long-term secure renewable energy supply, at a fixed low cost.
In their eighth project since 2015, MaidEnergy will again open the share offer to local investors for a six-week period to fund the project. The share offer allows investors to purchase shares for £1 each, there are 280,000 shares available to raise the expected funding to deliver the project. The projected annual return on shares is 5%.
Once the funds are secured, the project is launched with a return on investment to shareholders and surplus funds put towards the next project. The project potential has been recognised by the Climate Partnership CIC, which has agreed to provide £40,000 to underwrite the development of large scale solar in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM).
The install funded by this share offer will provide considerable benefit to Furze Platt Senior School, supporting the provision of education to young people. The school will benefit from a donation of shares in MaidEnergy, which will provide income from interest payments and a future cash benefit when the school request to withdraw its share capital. MaidEnergy has offered to donate the panels to the site after 15 years.
The project will provide locally owned renewable energy to serve the community; benefit the environment by lowering CO2 emissions; offer lower energy bills for Furze Platt Senior School; and provide a return for shareholders. Income will be earned from electricity generated by the solar panels and MaidEnergy expect 70% to be sold to the school with the rest exported to the grid. The school will pay a fixed price linked to inflation, while the export price will vary according to market conditions.
To help protect Furze Platt Senior School from excessive energy prices in the future, MaidEnergy is offering to provide power at a nearly 40% discount to the current price for power from the grid, increasing with inflation, and guarantees not to charge more than the price from the grid in future. This has been endorsed by the Education Funding Agency.
MaidEnergy has already financed and installed solar panels on seven community buildings, gaining income for MaidEnergy from the sales of power and the Feed-in Tariff for renewable energy. As generation is well understood, and prices are inflation-linked, MaidEnergy’s income is reasonably predictable. The rapid rise in inflation in 2022 will increase income now and in the long-term, while the addition of 240kWp of solar at Furze Platt will increase overall income by over 40%,
By buying shares, investors join MaidEnergy and help raise money to finance new installations. Each potential installation is assessed by MaidEnergy to ensure it is suitable to deliver a return sufficient to cover operation, maintenance, capital repayment costs and interest to investors.
Local resident and Co-Chair of MaidEnergy Richard Taylor comments, “It’s wonderful to be returning to Furze Platt Senior School for another solar project, our biggest one so far. We need more clean energy in the climate emergency, and we love helping schools in our area to cut their emissions and their bills at once.'
This latest share offer is for 280,000 shares offered at £1 each. This will finance 240kWp of solar PV to be installed on Furze Platt school. The minimum investment is £100 per member and the maximum is £90,000 or such lower amount as takes a member to 10% of the total issued equity. Returns will be calculated according to projected income and expenditure based on a set of assumptions. The projected annual return on shares is 5%, paid annually, and will be capped at the higher of 5% or RPI plus 2%. See https://www.maidenergy.coop/shareoffer2023
for a detailed share pack and the share purchase online form.
MaidEnergy is a community business, democratically run with an asset lock to preserve the solar panels for the community. No remuneration has been paid by the organisation to Directors for their service as Directors. Although Directors can be paid, they have served in a voluntary role. Directors are committed to putting substantial time into the society.
MaidEnergy works by:
- Finding community buildings that are interested in cutting carbon emissions
- Raising community finance from people in the local area and throughout the UK, through the issuing and managing of community share schemes, to fund installations
- Providing all relevant legal documents and arranging grid export capability
- Managing the installation and all ongoing maintenance
- Working with sites to maximize financial, environmental, and community benefit