Gower Power logo 2020A South Wales community energy company has exceeded all expectations by beating its target for share sales in just 6 weeks, and it is still possible to invest until December 8th 2023.

Gower Power, a Swansea community benefit society, launched their share offer on September 27th, with a target of £385,000, in order to purchase a 5MW solar farm at Brynwhilach, Morriston. By 10th November over 150 investors had answered the call to become members of the co-operative  contributing over £400,000 to the project, and those numbers continue to grow.

The share offer is one of 5 which have been running this autumn to raise funds for an innovative partnership, Community Energy Together,  which, following successful share offers, will now purchase 7 solar farms between them. Gower Power, the only Welsh partner, had to launch theirs almost two months after the others due to administrative hold-ups, but the eagerness of Welsh people to support community energy saw them fly beyond their target with astonishing speed.

Ant Flanagan, Gower Power Director and founder said, “People really resonate with the need to do business differently and to see more profits distributed back into communities. We project a 6% annual return to our investors, but what people really love is that any surplus we generate from green electricity sales is spent on fantastic local projects.

The urgent need to decarbonise our energy is no longer up for debate, and this way of meeting that challenge also feels fairer, keeping profits within the community where solar farms are situated.

With the share offer proving so popular, the company has decided to extend the investment opportunity for another month. 

“As with all community energy projects, there is unavoidable debt at the beginning. The more investment we attract, the sooner we can pay that down and have more spare to support the local community,” Ant explains.

The company has a proud history of supporting sustainability in Swansea, and enabling grassroots projects to benefit the local community. They were instrumental in establishing Cae Tan, Swansea’s first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme, whose apprenticeships have enabled many more CSAs to develop, providing fresh veg grown in ways that prioritise biodiversity, soil health and nutrition.  They developed a 1MW  solar farm in Dunvant, now owned by a Community Benefit Society called Gower Regeneration and providing local homes with green energy through Gower Electric Company. The development breathed new life into the farm site, which has become a hub for local small business start-ups and yet another CSA. Funding from Brynwhilach has supported community gardening and food growing projects and neighbours improving their local environments and green spaces. Owning the solar farm completely will enable Gower Power to initiate many more innovative projects and distribute far more grant funds – approximately £2.7 million over the 23 year life of the scheme.

Gower Power’s chair, Chris Dow, said, “It is great to be flying the Welsh flag in Community Energy Together, an innovative collaboration enabling communities to reduce the costs and risks of developing community-owned energy. 

This project is adding 20% to the total amount of community-owned solar generation in England and Wales. That’s a lot of green power, and people power, which we’re very proud to support from this beautiful corner of Swansea where the landscape inspires us to work differently to safeguard our future.

Anyone interested in learning more about the scheme can join a forthcoming webinar or can access information easily online, by signing up to the Gower Power mailing list at www.gowerpower.coop.

The extended share offer closes on 8th of December 2023 – find out more by clicking here