Community share offer for schools' solar plan

Every additional £50,000 raised by a solar energy community share offer will mean another school will benefit from free energy.

Energy co-op Gen Community's latest share offer aims to raise £750,000 to fund the installation of solar panel systems at 25 Staffordshire schools. But the deadline for investing is next Wednesday 30 April.

Investors can stick in between £500 and £150,000 for an annual projected return of 6.91 per cent, while those who claim the Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief will get projected returns of 10.48 per cent, as well as being exempt from capital gains tax or inheritance tax.

"Under the scheme, the schools benefit from free electricity and we take a curriculum-approved learning tool back into the schools," explained Andy Heald, director of Gen Community. "We also have a surplus community fund to train the school premises managers in energy awareness and behaviours."

If successful, the project will save 7,329 tonnes of carbon dioxide and provide the schools with energy bill savings worth up to £2.8m over 20 years. Some 15,000 children will immediately benefit as a result.

The total raised by the community share offer to date is £450,000. "But over the next few days we will be trying to reach £750,000 so that all 25 Staffordshire schools will receive a solar PV system," Mr Heald said.

Gen Community is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, but not regulated by the watchdog. That means there's no recourse to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong. For full details of the share offer go to www.gen-community.co.uk

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