After 5 years of trying to deliver a range of urban community renewable energy projects the Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative, the predecessor of ECSC, decided to re-think its priorities and strategy. The directors decided that a large scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project on Edinburgh roofs would offer the best chance of delivering a viable co-operative energy project within the city. Edinburgh is low on the league tables of installed PV of any city in the UK and it is perceived that this is because many people live in tenement flats, with no access to the roof. ECSC will offer Edinburgh residents the chance to collectively own solar panels, do something positive about climate change and benefit financially while at the same time helping Edinburgh to become a cleaner, greener city. With Government incentives for community ownership, project scale and recent reductions in the cost of panels, roof mounted solar PV arrays are now a viable business model. Even this far North
An approach was made to the City of Edinburgh Council and a Memorandum of Understanding was agreed. This allowed us to investigate a solar PV project on suitable public buildings. With support from Energy4All and a list of other organisations, a new community solar co-operative was created to investigate the opportunity.
The public share offer was launched on 29th September 2015 and successfully raised £1.4m.
By offering a capped return on share interest to members of 5% per annum and returning capital as we go, the co-op generates a surplus profit for community benefit. This is a model which has proven to work successfully in other cities throughout the UK and Europe.