Oldham community solar panel scheme seeks investors

OLDHAM COMMUNITY Power is looking for investors to raise a minimum of £348,000 through a share offer to install community-owned renewable energy on schools and community centres.

Twenty-five buildings across the borough have been earmarked as suitable for the installation of photovoltaic panels, including ten schools and several community centres.

Oldham Community Power, a Community Benefit Society, has teamed up with Renewable Energy 4 Business to fit nearly 2,000 solar panels, saving an estimated 200tonnes of carbon.

Sholver Community Centre, Youth Club. (l-r) Kaci Knox (15) and Kacey Hodges.
Outside Sholver Community Centre: Kaci Knox and Kacey Hodges (Picture by Tim Bradley)

Sholver Youth and Community Centre is just one of the buildings set to benefit, where Mahdlo Youth Zone hosts sessions every Tuesdays for children from across the borough.

Raz Mohammed, Youth Work Manager (Districts) at Mahdlo, said: “Mahdlo now offers youth provision in the districts of Oldham, as well as at our centre on Egerton Street.

“We work closely with partner organisations to ensure we can meet the needs of young people in different areas, and an important part of that is to have a strong base in the community.

“Sholver Youth Centre has been a fantastic venue for us – it allows young people to easily access Mahdlo’s services, support and opportunities within their own community, and allows us to further develop relationships with other local organisations.”

The single storey building would see 76 solar panels installed on its roof and they would be looking to save £350 each year on electricity bills.

Chris Acton, Sales Director at Renewable Energy 4 Business, said: “Investing in the share scheme is a great way to contribute positively towards community life in Oldham.

“We’re delighted to see people are already buying the shares, which will deliver them up to a 4 per cent return on their investment in the long term.

“We encourage everyone to seriously consider taking up this exciting offer, and are proud to be involved as Oldham Community Power’s installer of choice.”

Bill Edwards, Director at Oldham Community Power, said: “Oldham Community Power is putting local communities at the heart of our project.

“Schools and community centres will save money on their bills which can be spent on other activities; local investors will receive a return on their ethical investment; and all profits are used to pay back members and contribute to a community benefit pot to support other local community groups.”

The scheme is funded through a community share offer, with shares available from £100.

Investors in the scheme include Ken Winter, who said: “I was delighted to share in the initiative which is putting solar panels on some of the town’s school roofs – including one in Greenacres where I grew up.

“Who’d have thought 60 years ago this kind of opportunity would ever be available? It is easy to be a stakeholder – with a minimum shareholding of only £100!”

If you are interested in becoming a member of OCP and investing email OCP Director Bill Edwards at bill.edwards1@btinternet.com or call Sharenergy on 01743 277119.

 

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