Solar panels at Knowes Housing Association, Faifley in Clydebank which was completed by Edison Energ
Clare Burnett

Leeds renewable energy firm in ‘Europe’s largest’ £3.1 million crowdfunded solar project

Leeds-based Oakapple Renewable Energy is involved in Europe’s largest ever crowd funded solar energy project in partnership with Glasgow-based Edison Energy.

The £3.1 million scheme is being financed through Abundance, the UK’s largest ethical investment platform.

They have partnered to install up to 749 roof mounted solar PV systems with a total capacity of 2,595 kW for Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA).

The scheme called ‘Oakapple Berwickshire’ will roll out over four months and will be installed on houses across Berwickshire, including Duns, Eyemouth and Coldstream.

To encourage early take up, investors will earn 7% initial interest from the date they invest to 31 May 2015 when the solar panels are fully operational.

Interest is payable in arrears and the first payment will be made after the minimum £500,000 investment threshold is reached.

From 1 June 2015 investors will be paid their capital and interest return for 20 years, giving a 7.5% internal rate of return.

This is the second time Oakapple Renewable Energy has worked with Abundance having successfully raised £480,000 last year to purchase a 0.435 MWp portfolio of roof –top solar PV systems on newly built residential properties across the UK .

Chairman of Oakapple Renewable Energy, Phil Taylor said: “We were delighted to be approached by Edison Energy to partner them in this extremely worthwhile scheme.

“They have an excellent reputation in providing sustainable energy solutions to social housing and it is great that we are able to provide solar power to benefit the tenants of BHA who may be struggling with their electricity bills.

Business development director, Fraser MacKenzie said: “We have found our natural partner in Oakapple Renewable Energy and the fact that we are able to fully cover the costs of Solar PV projects makes it an attractive proposition and we would welcome the opportunity to talk to other housing associations who might like to help their tenants benefit in a similar way.”

Helen Forsyth, chief executive, of the BHA said: “Our tenants living in these solar powered homes will enjoy a substantial drop in their energy bills, with as much as a 30% reduction saving potentially over £100 per home a year, without having to pay anything towards the project.

“We’re determined to do what we can to address fuel poverty and, working with Oakapple Renewable Energy, Edison Energy and Abundance, is a fantastic way to tackle the problem.”

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