The UK’s leading community energy developer Mongoose Energy has successfully completed financing of the UK’s biggest community energy project near Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwickshire. The community energy company to be created will be the largest in the UK by generating capacity, enough to power around 4,500 UK homes.
The site has been designed, built and will be maintained by Anesco, the UK’s leading renewable energy developer, utilising the company’s extensive experience in energy storage and large-scale solar development. The combined 75-acre, 14.7MW solar farm will feature co-located batteries that are accredited for subsidy-backed revenue streams including FITs and ROCs.
The new financing deal for Drayton Manor will deliver £4.8m in local community benefits over the project’s 20-year lifetime. Mongoose Energy secured funding for three UK solar farms at Drayton Manor on 27 July with bridge financing provided by Social & Sustainable Capital (SASC) and senior debt provided by Close Brothers.
Mongoose Energy will start to repay the bridge finance from SASC via a series of community share and bond offers in the Autumn, to be hosted on Mongoose’s proprietary crowdfunding platform Mongoose Crowd and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Once this bond financing is complete, Mongoose Energy will transfer the sites into full community ownership.
The new crowdfunding platform launched in June and has already raised over £1 million for green energy projects in the UK by enabling crowd-funders to buy bonds within an innovative finance Individual Savings Account (IF ISA) wrapper and via a transfer of existing lifetime ISA portfolios. Typically, investors have received 4.5-7% return on their investments depending on the performance of their project.
Mark Kenber, Chief Executive of Mongoose Energy, 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. Our new crowdfunding platform is also helping make personal investments in clean energy easier, more profitable and more democratic.”
Robert Rabinowitz, Head of Generation at Mongoose Energy, said: “This transaction is just the beginning of a process to maximise the community benefit that we can achieve from these assets. We are also keen to acquire more community interest company (CIC) solar sites and urge commercial owners of such sites to get in contact so that we can help them to put such assets where they belong, into community ownership.”
Benjamin Rick, Managing Director of SASC, said: “This financing underpins our strategy to fund more community-owned assets that deliver real social impact and enable people to take a stake in their local energy infrastructure. SASC are delighted to have worked with Mongoose on our second transaction which takes our total commitment to the UK’s community energy sector to just under £10 million.”
The Drayton Manor deal means Mongoose Energy now has over 80MW of solar assets under management – over half (50 per cent) 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.
To date, Mongoose has raised over £90 million to put renewable assets into community ownership, including over £22 million raised through community share and bond offers. Its UK community energy projects combine financial returns with lower environmental impacts and positive social dividends.
Steve Shine, Executive Chairman of Anesco said: “We’re delighted to be working on this project with Mongoose Energy. As a pioneer of energy storage in the UK, we will ensure the site generates the maximum benefit for investors and the local community. Hybrid sites such as this, which combine solar with energy storage on scale, are at the heart of the UK’s smart energy revolution. The site at Drayton Manor will not only offer returns to investors but help reduce the country’s carbon emissions and create jobs.”
Anesco introduced the UK’s first utility-scale energy storage unit back in 2014 and expects its portfolio to exceed 185MW of storage by the end of 2018. The company’s solar farm portfolio exceeds 100 sites, which together are generating over 480MW of renewable energy, while its O&M service, AnescoMeter, is monitoring 21,500 renewable assets and ensuring their performance is fully optimised.
Mongoose Energy works with community groups, commercial project developers and investors to identify, develop, finance, build and manage community-owned renewable energy installations. The organisation is majority-owned by the community energy groups it works with and actively encourages new Community Benefit Societies to join. Investors who are interested in the platform and the latest investment opportunities in UK community energy can register at www.mongoosecrowd.co.uk
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