Image: Octopus Investments.

Octopus Energy has launched a new joint venture aimed at helping develop community energy projects in the UK.

The supplier, borne out of the Octopus Group which also counts prolific solar investor Octopus Investments among its companies, today announced a major strategic partnership with Midcounties Co-operative which will see it predominantly acquire the latter’s 300,000 energy retail customers.

However an integral part of the deal includes the launch of a joint venture between the two parties aimed specifically at furthering community energy projects in the UK.

It will invest in community energy providers, give support to community groups interested in community energy projects and increase the amount of energy procured directly from community energy initiatives.

Community energy projects, particularly solar developments, have been stymied in recent years, hit by both the retraction of the feed-in tariff and the highly contentious decision to remove tax credits for investments in community energy projects.

Earlier this summer Community Energy England warned in its annual report that 2018 had been the “toughest year yet” for the sector.

But despite the sector’s travails, Greg Jackson, chief executive at Octopus, said he was hugely excited about the joint venture.

“We have been hugely impressed by Co-op Energy’s achievement in this area and we believe that together we can help even more people from across the UK to come together in developing new sources of sustainable power,” he said.