Become a member of BWCE

… and help us to raise the capital we need to build more community owned solar PV on schools and community buildings.

Our projects offer significant savings on rising fuel bills as well as reductions in carbon emissions – clean, local energy, community owned for the common good.

In order to become a member of BWCE you need to buy shares in the organisation:

Open share offer

Open share offer – you can apply at any time
Open to new and existing members
Minimum investment £100
Target interest rate 5% (subject to performance)
Interest accrues from the date of share allocation.
Shares allocated every two months – next Share Allocation on 30th November 2022.

Our open share offer raised £1.2 million by August 2022. In September 2022 we increased the interest rate to 5% with targets to raise:

A further £500,000 by Christmas 2022 (to reach a total of £1.7 million)

A further £1 million by April 2023 (to reach a total of £2.2 million)

Funds raised to date £1,429,634

Join us for an informal information session.

Click here to sign up and find out more about becoming a member and helping your community. Session dates and times are:

Wednesday 2 November at 1pm, Thursday 3 November at 9am, Wed 9th November at 7pm, Fri 11th November at 2pm, Mon 14th November at 11am, Thu 17th November at 7pm, Wed 23rd November at 1pm, Mon 28th November at 7pm and Tue 29th November at 4pm.

How do I apply for shares?

Click ‘Apply for Shares‘ below to go to a separate online application form that allows you to read the share offer document online, understand the risks involved and apply for shares. Shares can be paid for online by debit card or by bank transfer.

To find out more before applying you can:

  • Read the Frequently Asked Questions further down the page
  • Download the share offer document as a PDF via the button below
  • Attend an information session – click the button below for more details

Apply for sharesDownload share offer document as a PDFAttend an Information sessionemail us if you have any questions

Our Share Offer has received the Community Shares Standard Mark. 

The Community Shares Standard Mark is awarded by the Community Shares Unit to offers that meet national standards of good practice. For more information about community shares and the Community Shares Standard Mark go to the Community Shares Unit

Risk Warning

Note, that investing in BWCE puts your capital at risk. This means that you may lose some or all of the money that you invest. Read the full offer document, understand the risks and agree with the terms before investing.

You can find out more about our plans and past performance at the following links:

What our investors say

“This ticks all the boxes: it does good in terms of energy generation, it does good in that it generates a fund for the community, and it does good because it’s a great investment…”

– Shay, BWCE investor

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of organisation is BWCE?

Why should I become a member?

Become a member of BWCE and help us build our capacity to:

  • Generate more renewable energy
  • Develop new approaches to reducing carbon emissions
  • Deliver community benefit

By becoming a member you will:

  • Make a clear statement of support for what we are trying to achieve
  • Help us to raise more funds for our work
  • Become involved in a not-for-profit community enterprise, democratically run by its members based on one member one vote
  • Earn a return of up to 5% per year on your investment depending on project performance

Who can become a member of BWCE?

Membership of BWCE is through shareholding with the following eligible to become a member. 

  • Individuals over the age of 16.
  • For under 16s, shares can be held on their behalf and transferred to their ownership on their 16th birthday.
  • Membership is also open to corporate bodies (e.g. charities, limited companies, co-operatives) and certain types of pension funds, such as Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).

How much do I need to invest and what are the returns?

Shares are valued at £1 each. The minimum shareholding is £100 and the maximum is £100,000, per member.

Shares are being offered with an annual target interest rate of 5%, subject to project performance. Interest rates will not exceed this target rate for these shares.

This share issue does not affect the terms of shares purchased before February 2019.

What will my investment fund support?

BWCE needs new capital to enable us to:

  • Install more community scale (rather than domestic scale) roof mounted solar PV systems, similar to the successful projects that BWCE already has in its portfolio. We have a target to deliver 1MW of new solar PV before April 2023. If we raise more capital than needed to deliver our rooftop solar programme, the board reserves the right to invest this additional capital in other projects with appropriate project returns, e.g. ground mount solar.
  • Re-finance some of our existing capital, improving liquidity and allowing some existing shareholders to more easily withdraw their shares.

How can I participate as a member?

You will be able to participate in decision making. As a member you will have one vote regardless of the number of shares you own. One Member – One Vote

You will be able to stand for election to BWCE’s board. If successful you will be able to hold the post for a period of three years before resigning or re-standing for election.

Membership is governed by our rules which are available to download here.

When are shares allocated?

Even though you can apply at any time, shares are allocated every two months. 

The next allocation date (given in the share offer summary at the top of the page) is the date on which your shares will be allocated if you apply now. 

This is also the date from which you share interest will start accruing.

How is share interest calculated and when is it paid?

Members earn interest on the shares they own at a level that reflects the performance of BWCE’s projects. The interest is always paid annually and in arrears.

The process for deciding on, and paying, interest is as follows:

  1. The 31st of March is the financial year end for BWCE. After this point annual accounts are produced and then audited.
  2. BWCE’s board will then make a proposal for the level of interest to be paid to members based on the performance of BWCE’s projects in the previous financial year and BWCE’s financial position at the year end.
  3. Audited accounts and the board’s proposal for member interest payments are then presented at BWCE’s Annual General Meeting, usually in September, and voted on by the members.
  4. Assuming the relevant resolutions are passed by members, a statement of interest will be sent to each individual member and the payments can be made a short while afterwards.

What are the tax implications of BWCE Shares?

BWCE is required to send out share interest payments gross of tax (in other words with no tax deducted) and we are also required to provide to the Inland Revenue the names and addresses of shareholders who received share interest payments greater than £250.  The interest should be declared on the tax return relating to the tax year you receive the actual money (NOT for the year in which it was earned by BWCE). 

If in any doubt you must consult HMRC or your financial advisor.

Can I withdraw my shares when I want to?

Shares are withdrawable at the discretion of the BWCE board. Applications for share withdrawal are considered once a year at the first board meeting after 1st July. Our policy on share withdrawal can be found here.

How else can I invest in BWCE?

Anyone over the age of 18 can invest in a BWCE bond offer when they are available. BWCE doesn’t have any open bond offers at the moment

Bonds offer a fixed rate of interest, generally for a fixed term. 

As a Bondholder you do not have the same rights as a member, being unable to participate in decision making and stand for the Board. However, we do try to involve Bondholders in the life of BWCE as much as possible.

We expect subsequent bond offers will be eligible for inclusion in the new Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). This means investments made in this ‘wrapper’ will have their interest paid tax free.

Bond offers are issued as and when required. If you wish to be informed of the next bond offer please subscribe to our mailing list.