A bond offer for a new community energy project is to go out to the public for a new solar farm site developed by Anesco.

An area of the Portworthy solar farm in Devon set to produce 4MW is to be part-funded through public cash raised by Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE).  The total projected cost of purchasing the array is £5.089 million, with £1.862 million to be community funded. The rest of the finance will come from BWCE, which will invest £905,000 alongside £2.5 million from commercial lender Close Brothers.

Anesco will hold on to an additional 5MW area of capacity nearby, which BWCE says it will look to sell on.

As the Portworthy site was pre-registered before 14 November, it is immune from the changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), which offered a range of tax reliefs to investors. It also secured pre-accreditation with Ofgem for the feed-in tarrif, resulting in an offer of 6.16p per kWh for the generation tariff and 4.85p per kWh for the export tariff.

Peter Andrews, a spokesperson for BWCE, said: “Because it’s pre-registered and pre-built we got most of our funding in before the changes to the EIS timetable. We just need to raise it now which I’m sure we’ll do really quickly.”

The bond offer will remain open to applicants until 31 January 2016 and offers a 5.5% annual return on investment, which would be repaid after two years with a potential for an extension. According to Andrews, BWCE are confident they will raise the funds needed to purchase the sight, which will increase its community-owned capacity to almost 7.5MW.

The total projected income over 25 years of operating the solar array is £10.8 million.

The Portworthy site represents continued activity by Anesco in the community energy market. It was announced last week that the company was working with Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC) to finance its eighth community energy initiative.