Community solar investment project comes to Cannock Chase
30th October 2014
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A new community energy initiative to make Cannock Chase greener while helping the Council’s tenants cut their energy bills is being launched on Tuesday November 4th at Cannock Chase Council Offices at 7.30 pm.


The project, which is supported by Cannock Chase Council, seeks to raise up to £1 million to install solar panels on between 150 and 400 council-owned bungalows in Cannock Chase.


Cannock Chase is the second most deprived area in Staffordshire after Stoke on Trent, with high levels of fuel poverty, and council tenants benefiting from the solar panels can expect to save between £100 and £200 a year on average on their energy bills through free electricity generated by the panels.


Investors are being offered a forecast annual return of 7% for the 20-year lifetime of the scheme, with a minimum investment of just £100. Returns are generated by the government’s Feed-in Tariff subsidy, and excess funds will be used to build up a local community benefit fund.


Mike Kinghan, Chair of Chase Community Solar, said:

 “With a minimum investment of just £100, this is a scheme everyone in the community can benefit from. Buying a stake in CCS you can earn a fair return on your money while helping others in your community to save money on their electricity bills, and reduce carbon emissions. Shareholders will also be helping build up a community fund to support other local projects to benefit the wider community.”


Councillor Frank Allen, Cabinet Lead for Housing, said:

“Cannock Chase Council is delighted to be working with Chase Community Solar on this ambitious project to install solar PV on the roofs of Council bungalows in our district. Our tenants have been badly hit by rises in energy prices in recent years and through this project we can give many of them an opportunity to reduce their energy bills by getting free electricity when the sun is shining. By targeting bungalows we will be giving the most help to the older members of our community. In addition to reducing tenants’ electricity costs the project will also help to reduce the district’s carbon emissions.”


Mrs. Jean Jeavons, who lives in Jerome Road, had solar PV panels installed by Cannock Chase Council as part of a pilot scheme in April 2012. She said: “The installation was very quick, it was finished in a couple of days, and the installers only came inside the house into the roof for less than an hour”. Since getting solar panels, Mrs. Jeavons has saved around £6 per fortnight on her electricity bills.  Chase Community Solar and Cannock Chase Council now hope that a successful share offer will mean the scheme can be rolled out to hundreds more tenants like Mrs. Jeavons.


Mike Kinghan added:

“We believe this is the first community energy project in the UK focusing on council house tenants. If it’s successful it will blaze the way for further community energy projects with councils and other social housing providers. There are many more social housing roofs across the UK and there is no reason why every suitable roof should not host solar PV. I hope people will show their support for this genuinely pioneering local project and come along to find out more on November 4th.”


Joining the Directors of Cannock Chase Solar at the launch event will be Cllr Frank Allen, Cannock Chase Council Cabinet Portfolio Leader for Housing; Robert Rabinowitz, CEO of Pure Leapfrog, advisors on the project; and Mark Davis, Chief Executive of building firm J. Tomlinson, who will be carrying out the solar installations. They will all be available to answer questions from the public about the proposals. The event starts at 7.30 pm in the Ballroom Suite, Cannock Chase Council Offices, Beecroft Road, WS1 1BG.


Shares are being offered through Ethex, a not-for-profit website designed to make it easier for people to invest directly in social impact businesses. Share offer prospectuses will also be available at the launch, or to download from the Cannock Chase Solar website.


A second ‘drop-in’ event is planned for November 5th between 11 am and 5 pm at the Esperance Room in the Council offices, and further events will be organised and publicised via the Chase Community solar website in weeks to come.

About the Author

Steve M

Member since: 10th July 2012

I am Steve Mallows, the owner of thebestofcannock.I have lived in Cannock since moving down from Yorkshire aged 5 years.I am passionate about the Cannock area and helping local businesses. I have a keen...

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