Oldham Community Power
Oldham Community Power is an incorporated Community Benefit Society that has been created to install community-owned renewable energy on public buildings in Oldham.
It is owned and run by members of the public, community groups, and local organisations through a community share model: community share issues are made to the value of installations proposed, with each share having a fixed value of £1. Individuals and organisations can purchase between 100 and 100,000 shares, and every investor becomes a member of Oldham Community Power with one vote on society decisions available to every member.
The society currently has 4 volunteer Directors: three are members of the public with interest and experience in environmental issues and community energy, while Oldham Council have been granted a permanent seat on the Board in recognition of its role in the initial set up of Oldham Community Power and in the number of Council buildings involved in the project. Oldham Council nominates a Director to the Board annually.
Since its incorporation in February 2016, Oldham Community Power have successfully installed 220 kW of solar PV on five schools and one community building in Oldham; electricity generated is sold directly to the sites at a discount to market rates, and any surplus is exported to the national grid.
Revenue gained from electricity generation is used to pay back the investment from society members, as well as paying interest of up to 4%. After these repayments, any surplus revenue is placed in a community fund used to support local environmental projects.
To ensure the installation of solar panels before a reduction in Feed in Tariff* rates, Oldham Council provided a bridging loan to Oldham Community Power to supplement investment from the first community share offer. A second share offer is currently open to repay back this bridging loan.
* Feed in Tariffs are payments from the government designed to promote the uptake of renewable energy technologies. They are paid to electricity generators using certain renewable and low carbon technologies based on the amount of electricity generated.