Triodos Bank UK is launching a £4.7 million community renewable energy bond offer on its crowdfunding platform for Empower Community Foundation.

The bond has a term of 16 years paying 4.25% gross interest annually. The interest rate will rise with inflation each year. As with all investments, interest payments and return of capital are not guaranteed.

There is a £50 minimum investment, and the bond is eligible to be held in a Triodos Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) that allows interest to be received tax-free. ISA eligibility does not guarantee returns or protect consumers from losing their money.

Empower Community Foundation is a charity that owns two 5MW solar parks, one near Salisbury in England and one near Arbroath, in Scotland. Both solar parks were completed in 2016 and combined have been generating electricity from over 38,0000 solar panels to power the equivalent of approximately 2,600 homes a year.  

The organisation distributes surplus income generated in the projects back to local communities through grant programmes. This has recently included funding Covid-19 support in Angus and family resilience in Salisbury.

The solar parks were originally brought into community ownership using bridging loans to fund the transaction. The majority of this has been refinanced using a secured long-term loan from Triodos Bank UK. The crowdfunding bond will repay the remainder of this loan and secure the long-term funding for the remaining life of the solar parks.

The refinancing will be at a lower cost than the existing short-term lending, which will increase the amount of money available for community projects. Community payments are forecast to be around £1.3 million over the 16-year term of the bond.

Alex Grayson, trustee of Empower Community Foundation, said: “Building resilience in local communities is what we are set up to do. We want communities to benefit from an acceleration of the transition to a decentralised energy economy. This bond will ensure that these two community solar projects have funding in place for their remaining life, meaning that each solar park will generate more income for the local community to meet local needs. We are delighted to be working with Foundation Scotland, Wiltshire Community Foundation and Triodos Bank to this end.”

Richard O’Brien, corporate finance manager at Triodos Bank UK, said: “We continue to see strong support from our investors for community energy projects and are delighted to be involved in another offer. Empower Community has been able to offer long-term support to community initiatives as a keystone funder and also pivot quickly to support communities through Covid. The increased resilience from independent income, as well as the positive environmental impact, make this a great project to work on.”

Important information

Investments offered on the Triodos crowdfunding platform are not readily realisable, which means that they may be difficult to sell, and you may not get back the full amount invested. Investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and your capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. Repayment of capital and interest will be dependent on the success of the organisation's business model and past performance isn’t a reliable indicator of future performance. You should always read the offer document in full before deciding whether to invest as it will cover risks specific to an individual investment. You can read more about the general risks associated with making these types of investments here. If you are unsure if any of these investments are right for you, you should contact an Independent Financial Adviser.


Notes to editors

For further information and photos please contact:

Ellie James, Triodos Bank

About Empower Community Foundation

Empower Community Foundation is a charity registered in England and Wales. The Foundation is overseen by a board of Trustees who are responsible for key decision making and ensuring that the Foundation is meeting its charitable objectives.

Empower exists to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society. It develops and manages community-benefit renewable energy projects and distributes surplus income generated in the projects back to communities through grant programmes.

The Foundation is the 100% owner of its two CIC subsidiaries, Drove Lane Solar Park CIC and New Mains of Guynd Solar Park CIC which each own a 5MW solar park. 

The Foundation has a role to distribute surplus funds from community energy projects back to communities. This role extends beyond the two CICs as it distributes surpluses from the rooftop solar portfolio and will include other renewable assets that Empower Community supports and creates in the future.

Both of the CICs have boards made up of three directors. These directors are also partners in Empower Community Management LLP which manages the solar assets and ensures they are appropriately maintained.

About Empower Community Management LLP

Empower Community Management LLP manages the two CICs., Drove Lane Solar Park CIC and New Mains of Guynd Solar Park CIC.

The three CIC directors, Alex Grayson, Paul Yiannouzis and Bob Knowles, were the founders of Empower Community. They initiated the purchase of the two solar parks and have also installed 30MW of rooftop solar on social housing.

They structured the group with a charitable parent to protect the mission and two asset locked entities to own the assets – keeping mission and social purpose at the core of the structure.

Empower Community Management LLP has been appointed by both CICs to manage the sites. It ensures good governance through appropriate insurance and record keeping, maintenance by appointing contractors and monitoring performance. It is also responsible for ensuring that the two CICs have appropriate finance in place.

About Triodos Bank

Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank has become a frontrunner in sustainable banking globally. As an independent bank that promotes responsible and transparent banking, it does not see any conflict between a focus on people and the planet and a good financial return. Instead, it believes that they reinforce each other in the long-term.

Triodos Bank has banking activities in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain and Germany as well as Investment Management activities based in the Netherlands but active globally. Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of 63 sustainable banks. Together these banks want to grow sustainable banking and its impact on the real economy substantially.

Triodos Bank UK Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank NV. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008. VAT reg no 793493383.

This financial promotion has been issued and approved by Triodos Bank UK Limited for the purposes of section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Triodos Bank UK Ltd. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales with registered number 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request.