WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT – JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

In just 13 years, we’ve invested a total of £13.4 million into bringing 20 solar and battery projects online, attracted over 1,600 investing members to Bristol Energy Cooperative and directed over £400,000 to support local community projects which focus on a huge range of issues including mental and physical health, energy efficiency, biodiversity, sustainable lifestyles and more.

So it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way since launching Bristol Energy Coop, and in that time the need for a cleaner, fairer energy system has only increased. That’s why we’ve got big plans to scale up our work to help meet the many challenges our society faces head-on, and we need your help to do it.

Our latest share offer aims to raise £1 million which will allow us to keep developing innovative new clean energy projects and add an additional 1MW of solar energy to our portfolio.

These projects will power nearly 300 homes over 25 years, saving 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and directing an estimated £130,000 into community projects.

Solar PAnels

COMMUNITY ENERGY IS YOUR CHANCE TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. 

As you’ve probably noticed, the world is facing some serious challenges right now. Climate records are being broken at an alarming rate, tensions are rising between major powers, inequality is accelerating, and many people are struggling to afford even the basics. And these are just some of the issues we face.

Dwelling on them too much can quickly feel overwhelming, so instead, we’re better off actually doing something about it.

That’s what community energy is all about, taking action. By developing renewable energy projects that are owned by people rather than large corporations, and directing profits into local areas rather than the offshore tax havens of billionaires, we can build stronger communities, and help create a cleaner, fairer, and more resilient society, today.

Our reliance on fossil fuels, on the other hand, makes us vulnerable. Not only does it threaten to irreversibly damage the earth’s climate that we all rely on, but as geopolitical tensions rise, oil and gas markets become increasingly volatile. By choosing to invest in clean, locally produced energy, you are helping the UK to reduce harmful emissions, increase our energy independence and become more resilient to shocks in global energy markets.

Fortunately, things are changing. Not only are we seeing increasingly rapid adoption of renewable energy across the world, but support for community energy here in the UK is also growing, with all the signs indicating that this will only increase over the coming years. There has never been a better time to join the movement and invest in clean, community-owned energy.

FAQs 

How will I earn a financial return on this investment?

Unlike shares in companies, community shares pay interest (not dividends) at a target interest rate set by the society or co-operative before the share offer. The interest rate offered must be the minimum necessary to attract and retain the capital. Profits cannot be distributed in the form of a dividend on share capital. Another key difference to company shares in a company is withdrawable shares cannot go up in value, but they can go down. You could lose some or all of the money you invest.

How can I sell my shares?

Investors can apply to withdraw shares from this share offer that have been held for at least three years. Requests are assessed on a quarterly basis, but ad-hoc requests, in the case of a member’s death, have also been considered previously.

It is important to note that:

  • Our ability to fulfill requests to withdraw capital is entirely dependent on the availability of sufficient funds at the time and the financial performance of our assets and is in no way guaranteed. The Directors have an obligation to prioritise the financial wellbeing of BEC as necessary.
  • If a member dies the shares are transferable as part of the member’s estate or the repaid value of the shares is added to the estate for probate purposes.

How will share withdrawal requests be prioritised?

Should the total withdrawal requests in any one quarter exceed the available capital, we will prioritise requests in this order:

  1. Personal hardship. This could include:
    a. Critical illness or death (affecting the investor or their immediate family).
    b. Redundancy or loss of employment by the investor or their immediate family that results in a significant change in household income.
    c. Any other significant, unpredictable changes in circumstances, considered on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Unsuccessful applications from the previous quarter
  3. Length of investment

Remaining requests will be fulfilled with priority given to funds that have been invested in BEC for the longest period of time.

When will I receive my interest payments and is it guaranteed?

The interest calculation period starts on the 1 May each year and ends on the 30 April in the subsequent year. For the first year interest will accrue from the date at which shares are issued by BEC. Interest is paid a couple of weeks after the AGM which takes place in October each year.

The payment of interest is not guaranteed and is dependent on the organisation being able to afford to pay the interest (so on its financial performance) and at the Board’s discretion.

How do I apply for shares?

Applications for BEC Shares can only be made online through the Triodos Bank Crowdfunding Platform. Please ensure you have read the offer document in full before deciding whether to invest.

What happens if the capital target of £200,000 minimum raise target is not reached?

The Offer is conditional upon the Minimum Raise being achieved. The subscription monies will be kept in a separate bank account and, if the Minimum Raise has not been achieved by the Closing Date, the Offer will be withdrawn and the subscription monies refunded without interest.

When will I receive my shares?

The full offer period is from 15 May 2024 to 5pm on 31 July 2024 (‘Closing Date’) but will be closed early if fully subscribed BEC will issue shares after 14 days after once the offer has closed. You have 14 days from when you apply for an investment to reconsider. This is referred to as a ‘cooling off’ period and during this time you can notify us that you wish to cancel, without any need to explain and without incurring any cost.

Will I pay tax on my interest payments?

This will depend on your individual circumstances. There are a number of ways you may be able to get tax relief on your investment, and these are listed below. The information is correct at the time of writing. Please visit www.gov.uk for more information on any of these or speak to a qualified tax advisor for professional advice.

Personal Allowance: You can use your Income Tax Personal Allowance to earn interest tax-free if you have not used it up on your wages, pension, or other income.

Personal Savings Allowance: The interest BEC pays members counts as savings income. This means the interest you receive from your investment may qualify for tax relief under the Personal Savings Allowance. If you’re a basic rate taxpayer you can earn up to £1,000 a year in savings income tax-free. Higher rate taxpayers can earn up to £500.

Individual Savings Account: Community shares are not eligible to be held within any individual savings accounts (ISAs).

 
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