Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative (ECSC) was formed in December 2013 as an Industrial & Provident Society, which is governed by its Rules and run by a board of directors.
ECSC, supported by Energy4All, raised the required funds (£1.4 million) to install 24 solar PV arrays. This was achieved with a public share offer, giving priority to Edinburgh residents to become members of the co-operative by purchasing shares for a minimum of £250.
During operation, some or all of the electricity generated is used by the building, depending on internal demand. This electricity is sold to the Council through a Licence Agreement, which is now in place. ECSC also receives income through the Feed in Tariff. Any surplus electricity is exported to the grid for which ECSC also receives an income. The actual level of income depends on the level of daylight, how much electricity is used internally and the operational efficiency of the plant.
Each year, after operation and administration costs have been covered, share interest is paid to members. The return on share capital is capped at 5%, which will rise with RPI each year. The surplus funds generated after payment of share interest is allocated to the community benefit fund. By year 21, members will have all their original investment returned and the panels will revert to the Council.
The co-op is supported by Energy4All, who supply a comprehensive package of management services, including accountancy, share register management and general administration.
Each year the co-op holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM) – to which all members are invited, and where the activities of the co-operative society and the performance of the solar panels are discussed. There is also an opportunity for members to engage with how the surplus profit is distributed. The following motions are put before the AGM and members are also able to propose a resolution.
• Approve Annual Accounts
• Appoint Directors
• Appoint auditors
• Approve the distribution of surplus funds (profits)