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Bristol Energy Cooperative

What they do

BEC was established in 2011 by a number of community energy volunteers. It now has over 500 investor members, owns 9MW of solar and battery assets, and employs 2.5 FTE staff. It has so far facilitated over £200,000 of community benefit payments to the local community

The story so far

BEC was formed in 2011 by people from a number of community energy groups across the city. It was registered as an Industrial and Provident Society for Community Benefit (otherwise known as a Community Benefit Society), but following the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, is now officially a registered society.

BEC’s main aims are:

  • to enable meaningful cuts in carbon emissions, and reduce dependence on unsustainable sources of energy;
  • to fund and implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, in collaboration with communities and businesses; and
  • to work co-operatively with communities to make carbon reduction technologies available to all, regardless of financial resources, and support mutual action to respond to the challenges of climate change.

Previous share offers

BEC ran its first share offer in 2012, and used the money to fund the installation of solar panels on three community buildings – Hamilton House, Knowle West Media Centre, and Easton Community Centre.

In 2014 BEC’s second share offer raised money to install solar panels at the Bristol Folk House, Mill Youth Centre, and South Bristol Sports Centre.

These two previous share offers raised £247,000 from over 200 investors providing the building occupants with a long-term supply of subsidised green energy. Bristol Energy Cooperative receives income from the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and payments from the buildings for the electricity used from the solar panels, and investors receive a return on their investment.

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