Egni Co-op, a not-for-profit Welsh community organisation which provides solar panel installations, reached its £2 million target for shares after a final investment of £28,000 by the Environmental Justice Foundation. The Egni solar panels, installed on schools, businesses and community buildings across Wales, currently reduce carbon emissions by 1,000 tonnes every year and save £88,000 a year in electricity costs. It is the biggest rollout of rooftop solar in Welsh history.
Egni’s community share offer was taken up by over 1,000 people and organisations, and the news that the target has been successfully met comes on the brink of Wales Climate Week which runs 2 – 6 November.
“People really want to see tangible action to tackle climate change and we’re so proud that we’ve got more than 30 schools, and many other buildings, with solar panels on their roofs,” said Dan McCallum, Egni director. “We had such a great response we’ve now decided to extend our share offer to £3 million – this is still at a 4% interest rate. You can join Egni from as little as £50 as a good investment and way of helping tackle the climate crisis.”
The team behind Egni Co-op also delivered the award-winning Awel Co-op, a 4.7-megawatt community windfarm near Swansea which was commissioned in January 2017. In its first year, the project surpassed its forecast for energy production, generating enough electricity to supply the annual needs of 3,262 homes, saving 3,328 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Its capacity is now double that.
As a sector that is expanding at speed, renewable energy now provides over a third of total energy generation around the world, with capacity standing at 2,537 Gigawatts. Investments in renewables now deliver vastly better returns than fossil fuels across the UK, the US and Europe.
Executive director of the Environmental Justice Foundation, Steve Trent said: “Projects such as these, which are cooperatively owned by shareholders, provide a sustainable form of energy that not only fights climate change but puts profits back into the local community. Renewable energy can and must play a crucial role in tackling the climate crisis. Dan and other members of the community have shown leadership and determination at the local level that is all too often lacking from our politicians on a national scale. EJF is proud to invest in this work.”
As part of EJF’s commitment to climate mitigation and protection of wildlife, the charity also invested in the Awel Co-op and owns an ancient woodland in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.
Notes for editors
- The Egni Co-op was set up by Awel Aman Tawe, a community energy charity based near Swansea which has been operating for 20 years. Along with the £2m raised from the community share offer Egni also secured a £2.12m loan from the Development Bank of Wales to fund the installs which are ongoing. www.egni.coop
- The new extension of the share offer to raise £3 million will enable the co-op to refinance the loan from the Development Bank of Wales. This loan was essential to achieve the scale of installs in a short space of time, but the organisation now wants to refinance it with community shares to increase the surplus to support climate action in schools.
- Egni Co-op won Outstanding Renewable Energy Project in an award sponsored by Welsh Government in December 2019 and Awel Aman Tawe was recognised as Environmental Organisation of the Year in the Social Enterprise UK Awards.
- Watch the film about Egni’s installation of the largest rooftop solar project in Wales on the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome in Newport. Made by double BAFTA Cymru winner, Mike Harrison.
The Egni Co-op
Egni Co-op develops rooftop solar energy in Wales. We generate clean energy, enabling our sites to take action on climate change and be more financially stable. Through our co-op share offer, we also give people the chance to invest their money towards in a more sustainable future and get a fair rate of return.
Contact: Dan McCallum, 07590 848818
The Environmental Justice Foundation is an international non-governmental organisation working to protect the environment and defend human rights. EJF is a charity registered in England and Wales (1088128). www.ejfoundation.org
Contact: Daisy Brickhill, EJF Communications Manager. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07396104874
Welsh Government Energy Service
The Welsh Government Energy Service provides free technical, commercial and procurement support to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and has supported Egni. The energy service helps with financial planning and funding, for example interest free loans and grants.