We are pleased to announce the publication of our 2021 Annual Performance Summaries. Each year we produce an Annual Performance Summary for our previous share offers, giving an insight into the latest financial, social, and environmental performance of your investment(s).
This has been a year of adapting, as the Covid-19 pandemic has meant our staff team has been working virtually since March 2020. Thank you to everyone who bore with us as we got our new remote systems up and running.
One unexpected benefit of this way of working has been increased contact with our 33 CIC Community Shareholder groups, with online meetings making it
easier for groups to join us from across the county. We’ve been impressed and inspired to see the commitment Oxfordshire’s low carbon groups have had in keeping climate change on the agenda, as well as harnessing these existing networks to support the community response to Covid-19 – from refurbished bike schemes for key workers to socially distanced seedling swaps.
March 2020 was also the month that we reopened our Community Energy Fund for new investment, raising just over £1.5 million and welcoming 417 new investors. This was our largest-ever round of investment, and we were thrilled with the response especially given the uncertain backdrop of the pandemic. We were absolutely blown away by the level of support our latest share offer received. The share offer re-opened in November 2020 and we had to increase our target twice in order to meet unprecedented levels of early investment. And even then we have reached our £3 million target early, before the official deadline. In this share offer we were also able to offer a new minimum investment of £100 for the first time due to reducing administrative costs by going paperless with our new investor portals, making positive investing accessible to more people.
This new investment is going towards our first ground mount project: Ray Valley Solar in Arncott. Construction has now begun and, once complete, it will be the largest community-owned solar park in the UK, generating 18 GWh of green electricity every year.
It has also been a record-breaking year for our existing portfolio of renewable energy installations. We generated 3.1 GWh of renewable energy from our solar rooftops and 1.2 GWh from Sandford Hydro – both of which represent our highest-ever annual generation figures. This year’s generation brings our lifetime renewable generation to 18.1 GWh.
Another first, was the installation of our first community owned battery at Rose Hill Primary School, enabling renewable energy to be stored. The battery, along with our generation installations, is sitting at the heart of Minimum Viable System (MVS) trials as part of Project LEO, allowing the project team to test different aspects of the smart, local zero carbon energy system of the future and thoroughly understand what does and does not work.
This year has also seen the launch of Energy Solutions Oxfordshire (ESOx), an energy efficiency service aiming to make it simple and cost effective for every business and organisation to stop wasting energy in their premises and in the process helping to tackle climate change.
Progress is undoubtedly being made to change the way the UK energy system works, but we know there’s still much more to be done if we are to ensure that our energy needs can be met in a way that is good for people and the planet. We’re so grateful to all of you, our investors, for supporting us and enabling us to continue with our mission – a huge thank you from the whole team at Low Carbon Hub.