The community energy supplier has secured funding for the 14.7MW solar farm near Stratford-Upon-Avon, which will feature subsidy-backed batteries. The 75-acre Drayton Manor site will generate enough energy to power around 4,500 households, and is expected to deliver £4.8m in local community benefits over the project’s 20-year lifetime. 

Mongoose Chief Executive Mark Kenber said: “Our ability to raise finance for a project of this size shows community energy is alive and kicking in the UK, driven by people’s desire to make greener choices about their investments and their energy supply.

The project has been built and will be maintained by renewable energy developer Anesco, which recently announced proposals to bring 185MW of energy onto the grid by 2018. Anesco executive chairman Steve Shine said that, along with investor returns, the site will help create jobs and reduce the country’s carbon emissions.

“As a pioneer of energy storage in the UK, we will ensure the site generates the maximum benefit for investors and the local community,” Shine said. “Hybrid sites such as this, which combine solar with energy storage on scale, are at the heart of the UK’s smart energy revolution.”

Energy revolution

Bridge finance for the project has been provided by ethically-driven investor Social & Sustainable Capital (SASC). Mongoose will start to repay the investment through a series of community share and bond offers in the Autumn, before the site is transferred into full community ownership.

Bond financing will be launched on the company’s new crowdfunding platform Mongoose Crowd, which has already raised more than £1m for green energy projects in the UK since June. The platform enables investors to purchase bonds within a pioneering tax-free Individual Savings Account (ISA) wrapper.

The Drayton Manor deal means Mongoose now has more than 80MW of solar assets under management – 50% of the total of community-owned renewable energy assets in England and Wales. Its community energy portfolio can generate enough electricity to power over 22,000 homes.

Mongoose boss Kenber, who took the reins at Wiltshire-based firm in April, last month told edie of the “fantastic opportunity” for community energy to fundamentally change the way energy is generated, owned and supplied across the country. Businesses that invest in decentralised energy systems can enjoy the triple benefit of economic value, security of supply and “telling a good story”, Kenber said.

George Ogleby

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