All about shared community ownership under the Community Energy Strategy's voluntary protocol
Members of the public may also be offered opportunities to buy into the project, as individuals (rather than as part of a group), maybe through crowd-funding.
This is a good way for developers to make their projects more open and socially attractive. This approach does not however qualify as shared community ownership, unless it is facilitated through a community group.
Apart from shared community ownership (involving financial investment), there are many other ways in which local communities, and members thereof, can contribute to - and benefit from - renewable energy projects.
Developers may consider offering, and communities may consider requesting, some of these other options alongside a shared community ownership model.
Communities can become involved in the development, design, construction and operation of renewable energy plants. The project developer and owner (whether commercial, community or a combination of the two) would in many cases be prepared to pay for these types of services:
Education and dissemination: Renewable projects are great places to show students and the wider public about all aspects of sustainable energy generation and energy saving. Projects can include on-site educational and viewing facilities; and can host open days, visits and tours.
Environment and ecology: Developers may engage with communities about the provision of ecological areas, landscaping, allotments and similar facilities around renewable energy projects. These approaches are often agreed during the formulation of planning applications.
Local employment: It is often appropriate for developers to seek to maximise opportunities for local involvement in site preparation, construction, operation, maintenance, monitoring and asset management of local energy projects.
The project developers may be able to offer, or persuade a licensed energy supplier to offer, concessionary energy pricing to inhabitants in the vicinity of the project.
Most renewable energy projects these days offer other benefits to local communities, such as payments into community funds or the provision of renewable energy facilities on community buildings. These 'community benefit' contributions are considered separately from shared community ownership, as noted here, though may be administered by the same group.