We are excited to announce that we will be crowdfunding for Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC).

We’ve helped to raise funds for BEC in the past with great success. In 2016 they used the money raised to transform unused, low-quality land into a solar PV project in their hometown, Bristol. This project was wholly owned by BEC and its profits have gone on to support members of the local community.

Now they are looking to raise £1 million for more energy projects that will benefit whole communities. If you think you or someone you know may be interested in investing in their newest offer keep reading for all the details.

Don't invest unless you're prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment, and you are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong.

Surviving the surge

With energy bills soaring in recent years, many have felt appalled with the record-breaking profits reported by the big energy providers.

Due to these rising costs, essential community spaces are struggling to keep their bills paid and their users warm. It’s never been clearer that it’s time to rethink how we fulfil our community energy needs.

Furthermore, our government is not doing enough to reduce our national carbon output or invest in renewable energy. Currently less than 40% of our energy comes from renewable sources. As it stands right now, we as a country are not acting quickly enough to meet Paris Climate Agreement goals.

That’s where community energy cooperatives like BEC come in. Together with their members, BEC are working to reduce fossil fuel use, increase the use of renewables and support essential community spaces and projects.

Who are The Bristol Energy Co-operative?

The Bristol Energy Co-operative is a community-owned enterprise that develops renewable energy and energy efficiency projects with and for the community.

Established in 2011, BEC is owned by members of the community in and around Bristol, and by individuals further afield who share their values.

In the last 13 years, the cooperative has grown to over 1,600 investor members. With their help, BEC has brought 20 solar and battery projects online, generating enough clean, home-grown electricity to power over 3,500 homes annually.

Empowering communities with renewable energy

BEC projects are funded by investor members, who receive interest on their investment from the money the co-op receives for the energy they produce. (However, returns on investment are not guaranteed.)

The installation and operation of these solar panels saves the community spaces they work with tens of thousands of pounds a year. With these enormous savings, essential community spaces are given a chance to survive and thrive in these tough economic times.

The members’ investments have enabled BEC to build a growing portfolio of clean energy projects. Unlike the big corporates, they retain benefits within the community, creating positive change with every pound, from subsidised energy bills for community spaces, to slashing carbon emissions.

Bristol Energy Cooperative’s positive impact can be felt from the local to the global level.

Some of these incredible projects include:

  • £400,000 in direct community benefits funds
  • Over £4,000 in international charity donations
  • Sustainable energy research funds for those in the West of England

Case study: Keeping communities afloat

Public leisure centres have been some of the worst hit from energy price surges. With the sudden rise in bills in 2022, it seemed that the volunteer-run Jubilee pool in Knowle would soon follow in the footsteps of so many beloved community spaces.

However, thanks to BEC’s Community Energy Fund, Jubilee pool has been saved. They will use the £4,000 grant to pay for a full feasibility study for a solar thermal system and to contribute towards a modern thermostat to improve efficiency.

What will the crowdfunding support achieve?

Through this latest community share offer, BEC hope to raise £1 million.

The co-operative will use these funds to finance the growth of their renewable energy portfolio. The intention for these investments is to add one Megawatt of solar energy to projects over the next year.