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Triodos Bank launches £2m community renewable energy bond offering

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Triodos Bank UK is launching a £2 million community renewable energy bond offer on its crowdfunding platform for the Empower Community Foundation. This is the second bond offer from Empower and will complete the refinancing of its two 5MW solar parks.

The bond has a term of 15 years paying 6.5% gross interest annually. The interest rate will change with inflation each year. As with all investments, interest payments and return of capital are not guaranteed.

What is the Empower Community  Foundation?

The Empower Community Foundation is a charity that owns two solar parks, one near Salisbury in England and one near Arbroath, in Scotland. Both solar parks were completed in 2016 and combined have been generating electricity from over 38,0000 solar panels to power the equivalent of approximately 2,600 homes a year.

As a charity, Empower will reinvest its surpluses into projects in the local community helping to support a fair energy transition and providing grant funding to a range of educational, social and environmental causes.

Alex Grayson, Trustee of Empower Community Foundation, explained: “We have all seen the impact of high energy prices in the last year and the vulnerability of our energy system to global geopolitical events. A strong renewable energy system can provide an alternative to this. Our structure as a charity means we can reinvest in the local communities to build resilience through this energy transition.”

The solar parks were originally brought into community ownership using bridging loans to fund the transaction. The majority of this has been refinanced using a secured long-term loan from Triodos Bank UK. The crowdfunding bond will repay the remainder of this loan for its Scottish solar park, New Mains of Guynd, and will secure funding for the remaining life of the solar parks.

There is a £50 minimum investment, and the bond is eligible to be held in a Triodos Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) that allows interest to be received tax-free. ISA eligibility does not guarantee returns or protect consumers from losing their money.

Richard O’Brien, senior corporate finance manager at Triodos Bank UK, said: “It’s great to have an Empower offer back on the platform. We continue to see strong interest from our investors for community energy projects, where both positive social and environmental impact is really clear to see. Community energy projects show that the profits from energy generation can be used in different ways compared with the extractive profits we have seen from elsewhere in the energy sector this year.”

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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