The information below is designed to give simple answers to some common questions.
Why renewable energy?
Renewable energy will never run out, does not produce carbon dioxide and is available to everyone regardless of their location.
Benefits of renewable energy to the economy include job creation, rents, rates, services and the production of affordable electricity; an essential component of any economy and reducing the impacts of climate change. The levels of funds staying within the economy are significantly increased if the schemes are owned or part owned by local people themselves and the knock on effect of money generated from the industry remaining within the economy.
People owning the means to generate energy through a co-operative organisation puts people and not money at the heart of our energy supply.
What are the environmental benefits?
Each installation will result in a reduction of CO2 emissions which will help the schools meet their sustainability targets. We are also hoping it will encourage more awareness of energy, both generation and energy efficiency, within the local community.
Is Edinburgh sunny enough?
The simple answer is yes. The estimated average annual solar energy per square meter in Edinburgh is between 850-950kWh and our long summer days give us plenty of daylight to convert into electricity even this far north.
We’ve used historical sunlight figures for Edinburgh in our calculations and while it’s not as sunny as the south east of England – it works! We’ve also selected south facing roofs and many of them are flat which means we can optimise orientation.
What returns can I expect on my investment?
The original (Phase 1) share offer projected yearly interest returns of 5% increasing in line with RPI over the 20 year life of the project. The Phase 2 share offer projected a fixed 4.5% yearly return over the 20 year life of the Phase 2 project. This was based on based on the assumptions and judgement of Energy4All and the Edinburgh Solar board about future performance. Returns are not guaranteed however and actual outcomes could differ from the original projections.
When will I get my original investment back?
Each year, after operation and administration costs have been covered, share interest will be paid to members. As the projects progress, it is expected that enough surplus funds will accumulate to be able to pay Members back some of their share capital each year along with their share interest. By the end of each phase, Members will have all their original investment returned and the panels will be transferred to the City of Edinburgh Council.
Share capital started to be paid back alongside interest in 2023 for both Phase 1 and 2.
Can I get my money out early?
Your investment has been used to purchase solar equipment which is installed at various locations throughout Edinburgh and so to ensure Edinburgh Community Solar has the funds necessary to continue to operate for the whole of the project, the Rules do not give Members the right to withdraw Shares, However, the Board may, at its discretion, permit a Member to withdraw their Shares in accordance with any conditions the Board may decide.
What happens if I die?
The Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act allows up to £5,000 worth of Shares in Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative to be transferred to one or more beneficiaries upon death either via an official nomination lodged with our office or via a will (if we are made aware of the will at the time of death). The value of Shares exceeding £5,000 will be always be treated as cash, and similarly where no nomination has been made or where a will does not give explicit instructions, the Shares will be treated as cash and paid out accordingly.
Will the Co-op get involved in other activities?
Edinburgh Solar operates as a community benefit Society and the project will enable the creation of a community fund, estimated to be approximately £1 million over the life of the project. Edinburgh Solar is open to suggestions from Members on taking on other projects. Members will decide if other projects are to be developed.