Background: Gower Regeneration Ltd is a Community Benefit Society founded by Gower Power Co-op CIC and Y Felin Ddwr Trust (the charitable trust that owns the Gower Heritage Centre). The scheme has built a £1m solar farm in Dunvant, Gower and launched a public share offer on May 2017 to put the project into community ownership.
The 1 megawatt site is home to 3,568 solar panels and is the first community owned solar farm for Wales generating enough clean electricity to power over 300 houses in its first year. All profits will be put into a Community Benefit Fund that will support land-based livelihoods, and building education and skills in order to make the rural economy more vibrant and sustainable.
Need: Gower Regeneration's construction was funded through a loan from Finance Wales, and the community share offer raised the capital to re-finance this loan and put the whole scheme into community ownership, allowing local investors to get a return on their investment and have a say in how the Community Benefit Fund will be spent.
CSW Support: The Community Shares Wales team provided assistance with writing the share offer document, and provided marketing and PR support. The CSW project also funded one of Gower Regneration's Directors to undertake the Community Shares Practitioner Training.
Outcomes: The share offer closed in November 2017, having successfully raised £905,000 through 435 investors.
Testimonial: Ant Flanagan, Director of Gower Regeneration said 'It was very useful having an extra pair of eyes on the share offer from the perspective that you brought, regarding compliance and checking whether our share offer met a certain standard of good practice. No matter how many directors looked at the share offer they wouldn’t have highlighted the things CSW did'.