We are committed to creating pioneering energy partnerships that benefit not only our business, but bring social, environmental and financial benefits to communities. British Gas has teamed up with social enterprise, Gen Community, to provide a £60m pipeline of solar energy projects for local government sites such as schools and town halls across Britain.
Launched in 2014, it is estimated that the solar energy projects will span 8,000 sites each year over three years and generate savings of up to 40% on electricity bills for residents in fuel poor households. Revenue from the programme will be generated from the Government’s feed in tariffs which require electricity suppliers to pay a guaranteed, long-term subsidy to owners of small renewable energy generation like solar. The Gen Community model is designed to create spare cash every year which can be re-invested into the community to support vital local social enterprises and educational services that help alleviate fuel poverty, ensuring that more people in need of assistance are reached. And as the solar panels generate and supply renewable energy, communities will also limit energy’s impact on the environment by cutting their carbon emissions.
The partnership offers an affordable way to do all of this because while the local authorities can benefit from solar energy projects ranging between £5m and £10m, it won’t require them to make any capital outlay. How will the partnership work?
- Social Finance will raise up to £60m in institutional loan capital to support a community share offering, which enables local people to invest at attractive rates and finance the pipeline.
- Gen Community will oversee the projects, liaising with local authorities, running the community share offering and engaging with community organisations.
- British Gas will install the solar panel systems as well as operate and maintain them.
We hope our innovative community energy partnership will be the first of many similar partnerships that create positive social and environmental impacts in society