Scottish Community Finance Ltd – Linlith-Go-Solar Case Study

Linlithgow has over 1299 house of sunshine per annum – well above the Scottish average.  Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT) want to utilise that to make Linlithgow carbon neutral in energy supply.

LCDT had already successfully delivered a grant funded renewables project which resulted in the installation of over 400 domestic solar PV  and thermal systems.  This meant Linlithgow has one of the highest number of domestic solar panel installations per head of population.

Now they wanted to start working with local community sports and community meeting facilities to bring renewable energy to them.

Solar panels on a roof
Linlith-Go-Solar – Solar panels

LCDT used community bonds in order to secure the finance necessary from locals to undertake a pilot renewable energy project with the local golf club.

In 2018 LCDT launched the first ‘Linlith-Go-Solar’ (LGS) community bond offer.  This successfully raised the money needed to develop the Golf Club pilot.

Based on the successful golf pilot, a second ‘Linlith-Go-Solar’ bond offer was launched to bring renewables to other local sports facilities.

Again, locals invested and the second community bond offer successfully raised the required capital.  The solar fitting work was completed immediately before the start of the COVID lockdown.

All Phase 1 and 2 sites and the corresponding 5 systems continue to perform well despite COVID significantly limiting the sporting and associated activities across the clubs.

Adults holding a banner of Linlith-Go-Solar under rugby goal with children in rugby strips
Linlith-Go-Solar – Rugby

Since the first installation Phase 1, May 2019, LGS has:

  • Even with lower total energy consumption overall due to COVID inactivity, the LGS project saved all 3 clubs around £900 on their grid electricity costs by using solar electricity
  • Saved enough carbon emissions (17.5 tonnes CO2e) equivalent to driving a car almost 4 times around the Earth!
  • Earned sufficient financial returns to meet the Community Bond return projections including interest within the terms in your original offer.

2021 – THIRD PHASE

Scottish Community Finance Ltd (SCF) and LCDT are again in discussions about a third Community Bond. This phase is likely to be significantly larger in size and scope and involve more partners.  It again involves securing community bond investment to bring solar energy to local companies.

CITIZEN INVESTORS

Linlithgow now has a healthy number of ‘Citizen Investors’ – ordinary people directly investing micro sums of money to support their communities.  SCF Ltd offers them the opportunity to invest in economic activity in their community for the mutual benefit of that community via the purchase of ‘Community Bonds’.  Citizen investors are individuals and organisations who receive social return and a financial return for their investment.

To find out more about the role of citizen investors, read the blog by Pauline Hinchion, Director of SCF.