Cost-saving step to boost West Sussex businesses

Tom Broughton and others sign the Solesco contract
Tom Broughton and others sign the Solesco contract

A GREEN group in Chichester has evolved to allow businesses to save money for the future.

Solesco grew out of Transition Chichester and has announced the launch of a new scheme designed to get solar panels fixed onto business rooftops.

A major employer in the Observer area looks set to sign a contract with Solesco in the near future, with hopes high this can pave the way for more to follow.

Tom Broughton was one of the founding members of Transition Chichester in 2008 and the cooperative group Solesco has been formed under the umbrella of Community Energy South – a group interested in furthering solar energy.

“It’s viable because we’re in one of the sunniest places in the UK with one of the highest carbon footprints,” said Tom.

The way it works is if a business is interested in having solar panels, Solesco will supply and install them.

It plans to raise the money with a share offer that will be open to the general public. A share prospectus is expected to be published soon.

According to Tom, the business saves money because electricity bills drop as it is supplying its own electricity, plus Tom said they would benefit from feed-in tariffs, meaning each business got back a guaranteed amount of money for every unit of electricity they generated.

“The International Energy Agency published a report saying by 2050 solar power will be the most significant energy source in the world,” he said. “I think solar power is our future.”

The model follows an example set up in Lewes, where a group called Ovesco used similar means to install solar panels on top of a brewery. It was so successful the model is being copied.

The ideal businesses, according to Tom, are ones with high energy use during the day and also large rooftops where panels could be installed. Solesco plans to operate across the Observer area.

“They get to keep the electricity produced plus green credentials and share partners get a dividend from the panels over 20 years,” said Tom. He added businesses wanting to invest in solar power but without adequate roof space would still be able to invest in shares and receive a divided, with Solesco targeting a five per cent annual dividend.