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Shared Community Ownership

of Renewable Energy systems

All about shared community ownership under the Community Energy Strategy's voluntary protocol

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Courtesy: Neilston Community Windfarm

Some shared ownership models

Split ownership, where the commercial and community partners each own their own part of the plant

Eligible for 5+5 MW FiTs projects.

Joint ownership, where the community and commercial partners form a joint venture which owns the plant

Shared revenue, where the community buys the right to a share of the project's income (but doesn't own the plant itself)

This is not an exclusive list; any model which offers shared community ownership qualifies for the protocol.

New approaches are expected to come forward as shared ownership becomes more common, like the examples here.

Shared Community Ownership

Amongst the many ways communities can participate in renewable energy projects, having an ownership stake is perhaps the most influential.

Many energy projects are wholly community-owned, but this website deals with projects where ownership is shared with a commercial developer or independent power producer (IPP).

What is Shared Community Ownership?

The Shared Ownership Taskforce agreed this definition:

Shared community ownership is the collaborative involvement by a community enterprise in a renewable energy project being undertaken by a commercial developer; where:

Collaborative involvement includes a financial investment in equity and/or debt available for substantially the lifetime of the project, with appropriate protection of minority rights.

Community enterprise means a social enterprise such as a co-operative or community benefit society, which pays a fair rate of return sufficient to attract and retain the capital it requires, and also meets broader social or environmental goals of benefit to the community.

Naturally the community's involvement in the project will often extend beyond investment to include, for example, position(s) on the board of any project company.

Some examples of shared community ownership

The links on the right lead to some different approaches to shared community ownership which have proved successful, including those referred to in the Taskforce Report. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has also issued a guide to different community ownership models.

It is worth noting that different approaches to shared ownership will bring differing levels of community responsibility, control or influence over part or all of the projects concerned.

Shared ownership is not the only option

Communities can get involved in projects in many other ways, apart from taking ownership. Some examples are given here.