Burnham and Weston Energy CIC are excited to announce the availability of ‘Solar Soft Loans’ for community organisations and schools. Our aim is to help organisations that would not have the funds to do it themselves, to install solar panels, LED lighting and other energy saving measures.

With our Solar Soft Loans, you have full ownership of the system. The solar electricity generated and used on-site is free, reducing your electricity bills, and you earn income from selling surplus solar electricity to the grid. The repayment of the Solar Soft Loan is based on a share of the actual cost savings each year. If the savings are less than expected at the outset, the loan gets paid back slower, or may not get repaid in full. Burnham and Weston Energy recirculates the repaid funds into a local low-carbon soft loan fund to help more schools and community buildings install their own solar panels. 

Our Solar Soft Loans are a subsidised investment model. They are only available to schools and community organisations and we are only able to offer them as the source of funds is surplus income from our big solar farms. 

Are you part of a community organisation that could benefit from some extra help to ‘go green’? Get in touch!


How do Solar Soft Loans work?

1. Solar Soft Loan Application

Burnham and Weston Energy provides a Solar Soft Loan to school/                                                                                              community organisation to pay for a solar PV system. We can help with a                                                                                  feasibility assessment and procuring and managing installers if needed.

2. Ownership and Operation

School/community organisation owns system and is responsible for the maintenance costs.                                        Solar electricity generated and used by the organisation is free, and reduces the amount of electricity the has to buy from a supplier. School/community organisation earns income from selling surplus solar electricity to a supplier.

3. Loan Repayments

Loan repayments are based on 50% of the actual annual savings. If the loan is not repaid after 20 years the outstanding balance will be written off.

4. Benefits and Savings

School/community organisation enjoys solar and reduced energy bills, with no upfront costs. Unlike ‘rent a roof’ schemes there is no complicated roof lease or commitment to a power purchase agreement.

5. Recouping Capital for Community Benefits

Burnham and Weston Energy recoups capital over time to re-invest into a local low carbon soft loan fund to help other community buildings do the same.

Solar Soft Loans vs commercially-funded rooftop solar

Solar Soft Loan model:
  • No upfront cost for the community organisation.
  • BWE provides a soft loan to purchase the PV system.
  • Community organisation owns the equipment.
  • No roof lease or PPA.
  • Community organisation uses solar power on-site for free, which has the value of the avoided cost of their normal electricity supply.
  • Community organisation earns income from sale of surplus electricity to the grid.
  • Community organisation repays the soft loan over time out of half the savings generated by the solar, so the effective PPA rate is half price electricity whatever the market rate is. If the savings are less than expected, the soft loan will get paid slower or may not get repaid in full.
  • Money paid back to BWE creates a local Low Carbon Revolving Soft Loan Fund, to help other community organisations and community buildings do the same.
Commercially-funded rooftop model:
  • No upfront cost for the community organisation.
  • Solar provider funds and owns the equipment.
  • 20+ year roof lease.
  • Community organisation pays for solar power consumed on-site via a power purchase agreement (PPA) – normally this is a fixed price/kWh (+inflation) for 20 years. PPA is probably in region of 20p/kWh so cheaper than current market rates but may become more expensive than market rates over time.
  • Export income goes to solar provider.
  • Investment funded by community shares/bonds/debt, with PPA and export income covering finance costs.

Contact us

If you have any questions or are interested in getting involved, please contact us: 01278 558370

Registered office

Burnham and Weston Energy CIC, c/o Communities for Renewables CIC, Redruth House, Cornwall Business Park West, Redruth TR16 5EZ