The following questions were posted on the ‘Any Other Questions’ board at the Guildhall Launch on the 5th October. The answers are provided below.
1. What are you doing to make this available to local people e.g. parents of Peasedown St John school children?
We hope to hold evening events at the schools (subject to school agreement) to talk to local people and parents about our plans, the project on their school and membership of BWCE.
2. How will share offer be made accessible to young people that cannot afford £500 minimum investment?
A group of people can pool together to become a joint member but they will need to appoint a nominee who will represent them. For example 10 people could contribute £50 to achieve the minimum investment of £500. They would need to agree how they want manage their joint investment and appoint one of the group to represent then. The group would have one vote as a joint member of BWCE.
3. Will the buildings be insulated if they get free PV
Many of the schools have already had an energy audit and taken action to improve their energy efficiency. Where asked we can provide links to local groups and companies who can advice schools on energy efficiency. In future we will be looking at ways of providing financial support for energy efficiency measures but our first priority is to complete the solar portfolio. There is a very small window before the FIT tariff levels go down and we felt it important to maximise this opportunity while it exists and it is still possible to generate such positive community benefits as a result.
4. When will you be able to help local communities to set up their own enterprises?
We are already in discussion with some local community groups with regard to supporting them to set up their own groups. We haven’t yet worked out the detail of how these partnerships might operate, while we focus on this first tranche of projects and develop systems we are confident in and clarify what we can offer to other communities and on what basis. However we would are happy to continue discussions with potential community enterprises as part of the process of understanding how these partnerships might work.
5. How will the community fund be administered and projects decided?
Final details have not been concluded but as the funds available increase we will set up a separate community benefit society that will have its own board of directors. Proposals to the fund would have to demonstrate that they promote environmental sustainability, and more specifically that the project is related to reducing carbon emissions through for example rational use of energy or renewable energy generation (but not in competition with BCE’s project development activities or local food or transport projects. If the project involved co-funding from other sources, this would need to be clearly explained. The emphasis will be on practical projects that lead to real community benefits. However nothing is set in stone and members will have a say on the final guidelines for the fund.
6. Do you, or should I say ‘we’ envisage monitoring schools or community groups power use after or before installation? We should ensure their power use doesn’t increase and should ideally go down ie they should also pledge to save as much as they can.
BWCE will monitor the performance of our own pv systems and the amount supplied to each school or site but we will not monitor each site’s own energy use. We hope that schools will use the pv project to work with the school population to facilitate a reduction in their own energy consumption.
7. This is a long term investment – have you thought about a BWCE pension scheme, perhaps for teachers at affected schools?
In many ways an investment in BWCE is similar to a pension in that there is tax relief on the investment and it can be a long term investment. Ultimately we would like to attract pension funds and setting up local pension schemes would be an interesting option for the future.
8. If I buy shares and then die – what happens?
The shares pass to your estate. For further information see the FAQs.