Just three weeks after a share offer opened for the UK’s largest cooperatively owned solar farm more than two million pounds has been raised – more than £95,000 a day!
Almost ten per cent of investments so far are on behalf of children or grandchildren – showing a belief that the share offer is a sound choice for future generations.
Adam Twine, one of the directors of Westmill Solar Cooperative, near Swindon, said: “This is amazing news – people are embracing the project wholeheartedly. Whether they are investing £250 or £20,000 – all have seen Westmill Solar Cooperative as a practical and worthwhile investment.
“With predicted average annual, index-linked returns of 11 per cent for the 24 year period, it’s clearly seen as an ethical alternative to the more traditional bank-based schemes.”
It was Government minister Ed Vaizey MP who opened the share offer for Westmill Solar Cooperative on June 23. The directors are seeking to raise equity of up to £4 million to turn the existing solar farm into one that’s cooperatively owned.
This will follow the successful model of Westmill Wind Farm which has been operating on the same site, at Watchfield, near Swindon, for the last five years. The windfarm has around 2,400 members who each invested an average of £1,800.
One of the early investors in Westmill Solar Cooperative is 54-year-old Sue Roberts who lives in Wallingford in Oxfordshire. She’s invested the maximum £20,000.The solar farm was up and running before August 1 last year so it qualifies for the highest level of feed-in tariff from the government, under a contract which runs for a further 24 years. Built initially by Blue Energy, the cooperative will pay back construction costs with a bond raised through the City.
“I have invested in the past in the rock-solid banking sector and look what’s happened?
“For me this is a solid investment with guaranteed healthy returns, predicted at 11 per cent average annually. Just consider that for a moment – where else will you get such a return? I’ve also advised my children to invest too – and after considering it carefully they’ve taken my advice.
“For me it’s also ethically sound. Planet change is real, it’s been scientifically proven, and our energy security will in the future become more and more compromised. It’s important that we get to grips with clean energy.”