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Pension Fund Invests £12 Million In Solar Panel Plant

The Lancashire County Pension Fund has taken a financial interest in an Oxfordshire solar panel plant that is owned by the community. The fund has invested £12 million of its £4.6 billion in what they believe to be a sustainable and worthwhile scheme.

solar panels
(image credit: h080)

The monies are to be utilised to refinance the cost of the scheme operated by Westmill Solar Cooperative with the loan being repaid by 2037.

Apparently, according to David Westley, who is a councillor but is also the chairperson of the Lancashire local authority pension fund, the fund were happy to make the investment in view of the projected return and the fact that the scheme was environmentally friendly. Obviously, the priority of the fund is to achieve the best return possible when investing any of the monies held in the pension fund. An investment return of 3% above RPI (retail prices index) is guaranteed.

The bond is over a 23 and ½ year term but in addition a further £6 million has been raised by individual shareholders. With traditional finance from banks being harder to come by this route is becoming more popular for schemes over the longer term.

Westmill Solar Cooperative’s solar power farm in Oxfordshire will be made up of 21,000 solar panels and will be located next to a wind farm. It will produce 4.5 million kWh of energy per annum.

Philip Wolfe is the chairperson for the cooperative and was full of praise for the pension fund’s investment in the scheme. He felt that there was an excellent fit between projects involving the community and local authorities. He also felt that the income emanating from the solar panel farm would fit nicely with the pension fund.

This is undoubtedly another fine example of various bodies working together for their mutual advantage but also to provide an environmental benefit to the community.

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