New U.K. Solar Energy Farm – ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
Big60Million today launches a £5.8 million renewables mini-bond offering for Paddock Wood Solar Energy Farm which will give local people the chance to earn 6% (gross) interest each year by investing in clean solar energy.
The secured, five-year fixed-term mini-bonds are priced at £60 each to give the maximum number of people the chance to take a stake in the 9.2MW solar farm near Tunbridge Wells, Kent. It will produce enough clean energy to power 2,820 homes each year and bring important financial, environmental and social benefits to the community.
Investors will accrue interest at the rate of 6% (gross) from receipt from the registrar of a valid application and cleared funds. The investment will earn a daily rate from the time in which an investor invests until the closing date of the bonds.
The daily interest earned during the offer period of the bond will be paid to investors along with their first full year interest payment on the first anniversary of the bond closing date. Thereafter investors will receive their interest twice yearly. At maturity of the bond investors can choose to either have their original investment repaid or to reinvest for a further 20 years. Individuals, companies, charities and trusts and all eligible to buy as many bonds as they wish. In addition these bonds can be held in SIPPS (Self Invested Personal Pensions) Subject to individual SIPP trustee arrangements.
Big60Million will reserve 10% of the Solar Bonds for six weeks for more than 125,000 households and businesses within 10 miles of Paddock Wood Solar Farm. If they take up the offer in full more than £170,000 in interest payments will flow into the community over the lifetime of the bond.
A person investing £9,960 in 166 Solar Bonds would earn enough interest before tax each year to offset the average £592 home electricity bill and its carbon emissions.
Big60Million is also launching bond offerings on the same terms for a 14.8MW solar farm at Atherstone, North Warwickshire, and a 10.3MW solar farm at Southam, near Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
This innovative approach allows people to spread their investments by buying a stake in one, two or all three projects. As a portfolio, they are the UK’s biggest renewables mini-bond launch to date, with Big60Million seeking to raise a total £20.4 million by May 27th 2015.
The three solar farms connected to the National Grid in March 2015 and are fully constructed and operational. Their assets and revenues have been pledged to investors as security, giving them further assurance. This innovative portfolio approach also allows people to spread their investments by buying a stake in one, two or all three solar farms.
Big60Million is a new type of community benefit-energy company, and its “Power to the People” campaign aims to give all 60 million people in the UK an opportunity to take part in and benefit from the clean energy revolution. It offers easy Solar Bond investments which help to combat climate change, build energy security and protect the environment for future generations.
At 25 hectares, Paddock Wood Solar Farm is the size of 35 football pitches, and the raised solar panels leave 95% of the land free to be transformed into a nature sanctuary rich in biodiversity, with habitat for birds, bats, and endangered animals like hedgehogs. Gaps in the perimeter fence will allow rabbits to forage across the site. Grassland meadows can provide grazing for sheep, and beehives will produce honey and help pollinate surrounding crops. The plans have been drawn up by ecological experts Avian Ecology with the support of the British Beekeepers Association and habitat creation specialists FlowerScapes.
Big60Million solar farms set out to forge strong community links. Paddock Wood will work with schools and colleges to help pupils learn about renewable energy and climate change, as well as local wildlife and its habitat.
Toddington Harper, CEO of Big60Million, said:
We want to put power in the hands of the people and help them make money and build a better world for their families by investing in the future. Spiralling energy bills, climate change, and loss of wildlife are global problems that affect everyone but these Big60Million solar projects give ordinary people and local businesses the chance to make a lasting difference to their community.
Big60Million’s first Solar Bond offer, in August 2014 raised £4 million and was almost 20% oversubscribed at financial close, demonstrating a clear demand for investments in quality asset-backed renewable energy projects offering strong financial returns with environmental and community benefits.
The Willersey Solar Farm Solar Bond was the UK’s first certified Climate Bond, assuring investors that their money will finance climate change solutions. Big60Million has applied for Climate Bond certification for all three new solar farms.
Paddock Wood Solar Farm was built by leading solar power developer BELECTRIC UK, which will run and maintain it. Construction began in January 2015 in a field at Knells Farm near the town and was connected to the National Grid in March 2015. It will save 4,100 tonnes of CO2 every year.
The site is well-shielded on three sides by mature hedgerows and trees and there will be limited visibility of the solar farm from surrounding public footpaths. An apple orchard, hedgerow and 12 new trees will be planted on the fourth side to further reduce its visual impact.
Paddock Wood Solar Farm is projected to generate steady cash flows to service bond repayments. It will be eligible to receive a 20-year inflation-linked government subsidy of 1.4 Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) paid for each MWh of electricity generated, and it will also make money from the sale of electricity generated by the solar farm and distributed into the National Grid network.
Full details of the solar bond offers and how to apply are on the Big60Million website: www.Big60Million.co.uk Investors can also get information by ringing the Bond Manager, Rockfire Capital Limited, on 0203 174 2508 or emailing [email protected] or visiting www.rockfirecapital.com. Rockfire Capital Limited is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Average annual household electricity bills in 2014 were £592 according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics) A person investing £9,960 by purchasing 166 mini-bonds paying 6% (gross) interest would earn £597.60 a year before tax.
For more information on Climate Bonds see www.climatebonds.net/standards/latest-certifications/big60million-solar-bond