Investment fillip for green schemes

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Communities for Renewables CIC (CfR), a community interest company set up by Regen SW and Green Trust CIC, has successfully raised £82k investment.

The company has exceeded its minimum target of £50k and will now leave the issue open until the end of May to seek the maximum target of £150k.

The shares are eligible for the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), a tax-based Government incentive to encourage investment in new businesses. CfR’s directors believe CfR is one of the first community interest companies to use the SEIS scheme to raise investment for social enterprise.

Non-exec chair, Jonathan Johns, said: “The success of this fundraising lays the foundation for a new way of funding both Communities for Renewables CIC and the community energy projects we help to develop. By achieving SEIS for a community interest company I hope we have set a precedent that will be followed by other social enterprises.”

Prior to launching the fundraising, CfR secured a £300k seed loan facility from leading social investor, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. CfR will use the funds to help local community energy co-operatives to develop wind, solar and renewable heat generation schemes, such as the WREN co-operative in Wadebridge.

CfR’s managing director, Jake Burnyeat, said: “Community ownership models are common in Denmark and Germany. By bringing risk investment and professional resources required to get a project through the development process, Communities for Renewables CIC aims to make community renewables mainstream in the UK.”

“Initiatives such as the WREN co-operative are demonstrating the potential of local energy schemes as a low carbon local economic development model that can play a key role in the sustainability of our communities.”