The 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.