Austin Macauley 09 July 2014

Social bonds to invest £60m in community solar projects

Social bonds to invest £60m in community solar projects image

Up to 8,000 school, council and community buildings are set to get solar panels via a partnership between two social enterprises and British Gas.

The £60m initiative between Gen Community, Social Finance and the solar arm of British Gas will be targeted at projects that reinvest energy income back into communities. Funding will come in the form of institutional loan capital raised by Social Finance through a ‘social solar bond’.

Schemes will be overseen by Gen Community with British Gas Solar carrying out the installation.

‘This is an exciting chance to deliver renewable energy both professionally and to a commercial standard, whilst keeping community ownership and values at the core of the project,’ said James Mansfield, director of Gen Community.

‘We hope that local authorities and housing associations come forward to take advantage of this new partnership.’

Richard Speak, head of sustainable communities at Social Finance, said: ‘Community energy deals can act as catalyst for mainstream investment markets to align financial returns with tangible social impact. These deals help alleviate fuel poverty for our poorest households and bring the financial benefits back in to the communities.’

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