CCEL was created in 2015 as an off-shoot of Transition Chester when members voted in favour of pursuing renewable generation as their preferred course of action. The founding members of CCEL were initially motivated to take advantage of the government’s feed in tariff to install solar PV on a public building in Chester. In order to achieve this we registered as a Community Benefit Society and successfully applied for a Urban Community Energy Fund grant. In January 2016 we registered as a Community Benefit Society (no. 7272) with the Financial Conduct Authority under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. Our stated aims are to:
a) Reduce the community’s carbon footprint;
b) Secure more sustainable sources of renewable energy for the community’s use; and
c) Promote environmental awareness and energy efficiency.
We are a volunteer run community business with 5 directors and 90 members. The business is run on democratic principles where the members always have the final say on important business decisions. The directors meet regularly with decisions recorded in minutes. Members have been meeting twice a year on average. As a registered Community Benefit Society we submit an annual statement of accounts to the FCA.”
We raise the funds by inviting the public to invest in the Society, and aim to return each member’s investment to them over the lifetime of the project with interest (up to 4% per year). We also aim to raise funds by applying for grants. CCEL is led by volunteers and any surplus funds we generate over and above our costs and interest to our members will be used to support community and environmental projects.
Our medium term objectives are:
- to develop, own and/or facilitate 200kW in total of renewable energy systems by the end of 2020 (aspiring to an average of installing one 50kW project a year);
- to attract, and generate a return for, at least 50 members from projects;
- to generate a community fund that will recycle surplus funds back into projects addressing, for example, energy efficiency, sustainable transport or local food initiatives;
- to strengthen local supply chains and support local businesses wherever possible;
- to establish itself as a key strategic partner in Chester and surrounding area for energy efficiency, low carbon initiatives and renewable energy.
Our long term objective is establish a sustainable energy business as a legacy which will support the well-being of our community and the environment.