FAQs - Contents

 
General

Why should people of faith involve themselves in renewable energy?

Why should people of faith involve themselves in co-operatives?

What is an IPS?

Are there any ethical issues in regard to raising funding through
shares and paying a dividend?

What is a solar (or photovoltaic) panel?

What is an Energy Performance Certificate(EPC)?

Who will pay for the EPC?

What is the Feed-in Tarriff(FiT)?


Building owners and users

How do building owners and users benefit?

Who will own the panels?

What impact will the panels have on the roof?

Will the installation process cause much disruption?

How are panels fixed to pitched roofs?

How are panels fixed to flat roofs?

What impact will the panels have on the roof structure?

Will installation cause the roof to leak?

Will rainwater drainage be affected?

Will gutter maintenance be impeded?

Can a roof be restored if or when solar panels are removed?

Is there any maintenance?

Who will be responsible for problems that may arise?

What about insurance?

Our heating is from gas. Is it worth fitting solar panels?


Investors

What are community shares?

What does it mean to be a Co-op member?

How do I invest?


What are the upper and lower investment limits?


Can shares be owned by groups?


Are there any tax advantages?

When will I start to receive a dividend?

How often will the dividend be paid?

How will the amount of dividend be decided?


Can I ask for my shares back?

Can I sell my shares?

Is Power for Good going to make a profit?

If Power for Good makes a profit what will they do with it?

Who is managing the co-operative?


Will the directors be paid?


Will there be any paid staff?


How will you ensure my investment is well-spent?

How will you ensure data protection?

What bank holds the Power for Good account?


 
FAQs
 

General

Why should people of faith involve themselves in renewable energy?

Most of the world’s major faiths affirm that the Universe, and thus Planet Earth, exists by the creative will of a loving God.  The world is sacred because it is God’s provision for the sustenance of human life. Since there is a common view among scientists that human use of the Earth’s resources has now reached a point where is has become exploitative and damaging, there is a moral imperative on all people of faith to care for the Earth by living, collectively and as individuals, within its means.  A move to the general use of energy from exclusively renewable sources (such as wind, sun and water) is a major component of such care. A community of faith which installs solar panels will be seen to be seeking to live with integrity, that is, to live according to a key moral imperative of its beliefs.

Why should people of faith involve themselves in co-operatives?

The values and principles of the Co-operative Movement have much in common with the values and principles of people of faith. http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/aboutus/our-democracy/The-Co-operative-Group-Values-and-Principles/

What is an IPS?

Power for Good Co-operative Ltd was originally registered with the Financial Services Authority under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 but, through evolving legislation, it has become a registered society with the Financial Conduct Authority under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, under whose terms PfG is strictly a Community Benefit Society while retaining the term Co-operative in its name and remaining part of the Co-operative movement. What is unchanged is statutory protection of the co-operative principles - for example,one member one vote - designed to enhance democracy and protect the rights of the members.

Are there any ethical issues in regard to raising funding through shares and paying a dividend?

We recognise that there may be concern among potential Moslem investors, in view of the prohibition of payment of interest on loans; but we suggest that investment in community shares may be sufficiently different in character to be sharia-compliant.

For a standard interest-bearing loan there is the guaranteed return of a percentage regardless of the success or failure of a venture. Risk is not shared between the parties: it all the lies with the borrower. 

Holders of co-operative community shares are not promised a guaranteed return. Indeed, they could lose all their investment. Shareholders do not invest for a guaranteed rate of return: rather they share risk by becoming members of the co-op. As a member of the co-op, and not in their personal capacity, each shareholder jointly owns the asset being purchased and therefore shares the gains and losses. Under these circumstances, the motivation and expectation of investors clearly differ from those who seek interest regardless.

(We would welcome any feedback on this issue.)

What is a solar (or photovoltaic) panel?

A solar panel is as assembly of photovoltaic (PV) cells which convert light energy into electricity. They may be installed on commercial or residential buildings as a source of renewable energy.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate(EPC)?

An EPC contains information about a building’s energy use and costs, together with recommendations on how to improve the building’s energy efficiency. The building is given a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Although a minimum D rating is no longer a requirement for community schemes in order to receive the higher rate of Feed-in Tariff (FiT), an EPC is still needed as it assists an organisation to set the generation of renewable energy within its wider environmental policy.

Who will pay for the EPC?

Power for Good is seeking funding to carry the cost of EPCs.

What is the Feed-in Tariff(FiT)?

The Feed-in Tariff is the payment that is made to owners of renewable electricity systems for the energy they produce, measured in Kilowatt hours. The tariff was introduced by the government to help increase the level of renewable energy in the U.K, as they have to meet a legally binding target of 15% of energy from renewables by 2020.  The rate of the Feed-in Tariff began at 43p per kilowatt hour.  This amount is being stepped down for new installations at regular intervals, depending on the overall uptake.  As the cost of the installations is also coming down, the payback period remains more or less constant.


Building owners and users

How do building owners and users benefit?

As well as making a statement about your commitment to the care of the Earth, solar panels will reduce your electricity bills and release cash for other use. As solar energy is produced less in winter, and not at all at night, the greatest savings will be made by communities who use electricity during the daytime and throughout the year.

Who will own the panels?

They will remain the property of Power for Good for a period of about 17 years, at which point the ownership will be reviewed, and at some point passed to the building users for the remainder of their lifetime.

Will the installation process cause much disruption?

It will be necessary to erect scaffolding for about a week. Most of the work takes place on the roof, but access will be required to the part of the building where the generation meter is to be installed.

How are panels fixed to pitched roofs?

A roof tile is lifted to allow a bracket to be attached to the underlying batten.  The bracket extends below the edge of the replaced 
tile and the tile lies a few millimetres proud, but this does not compromise weatherproofing. The lower end of the bracket rests on the tile below, which presents no problems for any material except slate. New World Home Energy, our installation partner, source their
brackets from Fischer, a world-wide fixings manufacturer whose website provides illustrations.

For slate roofs, or for any other roof that is not in perfect condition, it is necessary to use SolarFlash fixings, which are more costly and include integrated flashing. They may also used where access for routine maintenance is relatively difficult. The SolarFlash system is described on a video from their website.


How are panels fixed to flat roofs?

Panels are fixed to concrete ballast (kerb stones) which is heavy enough to prevent movement due to wind. Fischer also illustrate
this method
.

What impact will the panels have on the roof structure?

Structural integrity is ensured by an initial structural survey, with the surveyor carrying insurance against error, and then by a five-year guarantee to correct possible installation faults. A survey would incorporate consideration of additional loading due to wind or snow.
It is interesting that, in eight years of installing photovoltaic panels, New World Home Energy have never encountered an unfavourable structural survey.

Will installation cause the roof to leak?

Exceedingly rarely. New World Home Energy has installed 15,000 to 20,000 solar panels, involving more than 100,000 fixing brackets, and they have returned only to a handful of sites to fix minor leaks.

Will rainwater drainage be affected?

No. A 500mm margin is left between panels and roof edges, so that rain falling on the panels drains first onto the tiles.

Will gutter maintenance be impeded?

No. A 500mm margin between panels and gutters ensures unobstructed access.

Can a roof be restored if or when solar panels are removed?

Yes. There are no irreversible structural or cosmetic changes.

Is there any maintenance?

Solar (PV) panels are maintenance-free. For example, they are fronted with self-cleaning glass. There is a requirement for quarterly access for meter-reading.

Who will be responsible for problems that may arise?

Power for Good, while they remain owners of the panels,will fix any technical problems that arise.

What about insurance?

During the installation process, the contractors will have insurance cover, and the panels will be covered by a warranty.  However, it will be necessary to inform your building insurers once the panels have been installed, and there may be an increase in the premium payments.  The insurers will seek re-assurance that the panels have been correctly installed, with particular regard as to whether the roof is strong enough.  All this will be addressed prior to installation by our preferred suppliers New World Home Energy, who are very experienced and highly regarded by previous customers.

Our heating is from gas. Is it worth fitting solar panels?

Yes. It is your daytime use of electricity that determines benefit from solar panels, whatever the source of your heating. In practice there is relatively little reduction in the cost of heating from electricity since demand for heat increases most at times when light levels are least, as in winter evenings.


Investors

What are community shares?

Community investment is a way of raising money from communities through the sale of shares in order to finance enterprises serving a community purpose. Unlike charitable fundraising, community investors can often get their money back, and many also receive dividends on the money they invest. All investors in Co-operatives (IPSs) become members of the Co-op.

What does it mean to be a Co-op member?

With respect to Power for Good, memberships confers eligibility to vote at general meetings, one vote per investor irrespective of the value of investment. Members may also be elected to serve on the Board of Power for Good. For wider benefits of Co-op membership see http://www.co-operative.coop/membership/

How do I invest?

By filling out the application form, either at the back of the prospectus or available here.

What are the upper and lower investment limits?

The maximum that can be invested by an individual is £20,000 but larger amounts may be invested by another IPS.
The minimum investment is £250.

Can shares be owned by groups?

Yes, providing the group is registered as an IPS.

Are there any tax advantages?

Taxpayers may be eligible for Enterprise Investment Relief on 30% of their investment, subject to qualification of the share scheme with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and retention of shares for at least three years. See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/eis/

When will I start to receive a dividend?

That depends when the co-op can afford to pay dividends. In the early years it may not be possible to pay any at all. See the Business Plan section of the Share Prospectus.

How often will the dividend be paid?

When dividends become available they will be paid annually.

How will the amount of dividend be decided?

The dividend is paid from our trading surplus. The surplus is used to develop an operational reserve, to meet other contingency liabilities and to reinvest in the co-op. The dividend paid is dependent on balancing an attractive rate of return with cash-flow and contingency requirements.

Can I ask for my shares back?

Yes, but return of investment would be subject to the agreement of the Board
who would consider the impact of withdrawal on the co-op as a whole.

Can I sell my shares?

No. Shares are not transferrable.

Is Power for Good going  to make a profit?

Yes, that is part of the Business Plan.

If Power for Good makes a profit what will they do with it?

Profit will be used to build and maintain an operating reserve, invest in further installations or, when affordable, pay dividends or return capital.

Who is managing the co-operative?

From start-up Power for Good is managed by a group of Founding Directors who must resign within six months of the end of the first year’s trading. Directors may be re-elected or replaced at the Annual General Meeting. At that stage representation on the Board by clients of Power for Good from different faith groups would be highly desirable.

Will the directors be paid?

Directors draw no salary but may be refunded reasonable expenses.

Will there be any paid staff?

When the volume of work can no longer be carried by volunteers, and if income permits, Power for Good may employ
administrative personnel.

How will you ensure my investment is well-spent?

The Annual Financial Statement will be available for scrutiny. The bulk of our expenditure is on technology for generating renewable energy, and the Board have taken care in selecting New Solar Home Energy as our preferred supplier to ensure value for money.

How will you ensure data protection?

Power for Good is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office as required by the Data Protection Act (1998). Shareholder data is held on a password-protected file. Any data files needing transmission between Directors by email will be encrypted.

What bank holds the Power for Good account?

The Co-operative Bank, Colmore Row, Birmingham.