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Brighton Energy Coop

What they do

Brighton Energy Coop is about community-owned renewable energy. They get lots of people together, everyone puts in a little bit of cash and collectively they are able to build large scale renewable energy systems. Money raised from selling the electricity flows back into the coop; it’s then distributed in the form of a community fund, interest to members and paying back capital. Host sites benefit from the cheap electricity that panels provide.

History

Brighton Energy Coop sprang to life in 2010. After six months of planning 8 people invested the start up capital that led to their first share launch in 2012. During this period 120 people joined BEC, and they built their first solar PV systems.

Since then Brighton Energy Coop have been mentored by many different organisations and have achieved press coverage both locally and nationally. More than 500 people are now BEC members; they've raised £1,900,000 and built many big solar PV systems..

2012/13
£18,000 raised from ten Brighton investors to develop the concept. 77 people later invest an additional £236,000 and BEC installs its first three solar installations. Turnover is £20,000.

2013/14
A further £411,000 of solar assets added to BEC’s renewables portfolio. Turnover is nearly £35,000 and BEC makes an operating profit of just over £7,000. By the end of the financial year 215 people are BEC members.

2014/15
Fifty people join and they are visited by two energy ministers! A further £68,000 is raised for a new solar array at Shoreham Port; turnover passes £64,000 and operating profits rose to £23,000.

2015/16
Six large solar arrays built - costing £573,000 - including the first school; membership passes the 400 mark and total funds raised top £1,300,000. Turnover increases to nearly £82,000, with an operating profit of £25,000 and the first interest payment are made to members: £32,000.

2016/17
Additional solar PV built with the University of Brighton. 77 people join and £230,000 is invested; interest payment this year is £33,000, based on a turnover of £135,000 and an operating profit of £39,000.

2017/18
Several commercial arrays built and a further £272,000 raised. Membership passes 500 and they pay out £58,000 of interest. At £194,000, turnover is nearly ten times that of five years ago; meanwhile administration fees have increased from £16,000 to £123,000 - a multiple of only seven.

How it Works

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