Social sector urged to snap up solar power

Solar panels

Social Enterprise and community funding organisation the Key Fund is urging charities, community businesses and Social Enterprises to take advantage of potential feed in tariff earnings and savings on their energy bills. Now the UK’s most prolific investor of its kind, Key Fund, is offering a limited blend of grant & loan offers across Yorkshire and the Humber to organisations who own their own buildings to invest in solar panels or renewable energy schemes.


Key Fund are not alone in this, the whole solar power industry is urging people to install panels sooner rather than later, before the planned government review of solar panel incentives this autumn. Once you have got your solar panels, you ‘lock-in’ your guaranteed payments for the next 20 years regardless of what happens to the tariff in the future.


Solar panels can begin delivering energy savings just 12 months after installation. For instance, a typical 50kW system that costs around £50k to install generates an annual feed-in tariff of £5k per year and electricity savings of £3,600. Profits can even be generated over a 20 year period.


Matt Smith, Deputy CEO of Key Fund, said: “Now is the time if organisations want to protect themselves from rising energy costs. Building utility costs are one of the biggest challenges for social enterprises, charities or groups owning and running community assets. There is a window of opportunity to act, and we want to help.” 


Key Fund has led investments in the renewable energy market with a number of ground-breaking deals, including financing one of the earliest community owned Hydroelectric scheme, Settle Hydro in north Yorkshire. The people behind the award-winning hydro project have advised communities across the world on how to set up their own renewable energy schemes.


Smith added: “It’s a fantastic way to build sustainability into buildings operated by organisations that may be cash-strapped or are seeking to run more efficiently. And importantly, it reduces your carbon footprint.  At Key Fund our driving mission is to ensure organisations that deliver positive social or environmental impact in local communities receive the finance they need to help them become sustainable. That’s why we’re offering a blended grant & loan mix to help people install solar panels as a revenue generating asset.


Interested organisations should contact the Key Fund on 0114 242 8900 to access the blended renewable energy finance grant & loan offer, which is available for the next two months only.


About Key Fund

South Yorkshire was facing a grim future with the downturn in the steel and coal industries and the scourge of long-term unemployment was a black cloud over its future.  In 1999 the Key Fund was born by a group of entrepreneurs from Locality (formerly the DTA, South Yorkshire Community Foundation) and the Sheffield Community Enterprise Development Unit. They pooled their experience and skills from working in the Third Sector with a philanthropic impulse to meet the glaring needs of budding social enterprises and community organisations. In 2002, the Key Fund escaped a culture dependant on grants and made its first loan. Their objective remains the same as it did when it began: to remove the barriers within society and the financial markets that help propagate poverty and disadvantage.

  • To date Key Fund has also invested over £35 million with an average loss rate of only 4.4%, supporting over 2,300 organisations.
  • Key Fund has helped over 2,300 organisations.
  • Key Fund has created 1,156 jobs as well as safeguarding 1,513 jobs.
  • Over the 2013/14 year Key Fund had remarkable statistics in terms of helping beneficiaries, most notably 551 women, 167 ethnic minorities and 131 children and young people. 
  • Unlike most lenders during the 2013/14 year Key Fund dealt primarily in unsecured loans with 65% of all loans unsecured and only 35% secured. 
  • During the 2013/14 year 79.4% of all Key Funds awards to clients were within the top 20% of the indices of multiple deprivation (IMD).


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