Foot Anstey advises Community Energy Together groups on the acquisition and refinancing of seven operational solar farms

Foot Anstey has advised a group of community benefit societies on their collaboration to purchase and refinance seven operational ground-mounted solar PV installations, totalling 36.3MW, in England and Wales.

The groups, acting together under the banner Community Energy Together Limited, raised significant amounts from individual investors across the UK to bring the installations into community ownership.

The solar farms will collectively save an estimated 317,000 CO2 over their lifetimes and supply the equivalent of 12,750 homes. Collectively, the solar farms add 20% to the total of community owned solar in England and Wales. They will also generate around £20M of surplus funds over the lifetimes of the solar farms, which will be invested back into local community projects, providing long-term benefits to help fight climate change.

The acquisition and refinance is part of a long-term project orchestrated by Community Owned Renewables LLP with support from Big Society Capital and Power to Change, including an innovative cross-collateralised finance model to reduce the cost of borrowing and spread risk across the projects.

Leila Ferraby, Independent Chair of Community Energy Together said: "Foot Anstey’s sustained support has been vital in enabling the successful launch of this innovative collaboration between five community energy groups in England and Wales. In terms of scale, the unique transaction represents a milestone in the community energy sector."

Senior associate, Kieran van Bussel led Foot Anstey team on the corporate elements of the transaction, and Partner, Katie-Jane Rees led on the banking elements. The team involved included Amy Lapsevska, Michael Bolous and Giles Tidy.

Kieran said: "Foot Anstey have been advising the community benefit societies in relation to this project since 2020, and we are delighted to have helped them achieve the successful conclusion of their journey. The acquisition and finance structure is truly innovative and provides a model for collaboration between communities which will help to greatly magnify their impact."

Community Owned Renewables LLP was advised by Finance Earth, and their legal advisers were Burges Salmon.

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