West Solent Solar was formed in August 2013 as an Industrial & Provident Society governed by Cooperative Rules and run by a board of directors. The Solar Park became operational in July 2014. Following a change in the Financial Conduct Authority’s interpretation of the rules for Industrial and Provident Societies, the cooperative transitioned to a Company Limited by Shares in April 2021 and continues to follow a one member, one vote ethos for the benefit of members and the local community.
West Solent Solar, supported by Energy4All raised the required funds (£2.5 million) through a public share offer enabling local people in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight and beyond to become members of the co-op by purchasing shares.
Once sufficient funds were raised the co-op placed an order with Solar Century as the chosen EPC (Engineering Procurement and Construction) contractor.
Income & Operating costs
All the electricity generated is sold to the electricity markets through a Power Purchase Agreement and the co-op also receives income through the Feed in Tariff. The actual level of income will depend on the level of daylight at the site and the operational efficiency of the plant. After payment of maintenance, security, rent and administration costs, the surplus profits are available to distribute as an interest and dividend payment to members of the co-op.
There is also a Community Fund available to support local community initiatives local to the solar park.
Throughout its life, the co-op will be supported by Energy4All, which will supply a comprehensive package of management services, including accountancy, share register management and general administration.
Annual General Meeting
Each year the co-op holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM) – to which all members are be invited, and where the activities of the co-op and the performance of the solar park will be discussed. The following motions are put before the AGM for member approval:
• Approve Annual Accounts
• Appoint Directors
• Appoint auditors
• Approve the distribution of surplus funds (profits)