News

Could you be our next treasurer?

We are seeking for a new volunteer Board member to help West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCORE) and Osney Lock Hydro (OLH) advance into the future WOCoRe and OLH are two independent, but closely collaborating, volunteer-run community energy organisations operating in West Oxford.  We are managed through a board of directors. From October 2019 there will be a vacancy for the position of Treasurer to join the boards and oversee the financial activity of these inspiring projects. You will help shape the next stages of our work whilst making sure that our finances are sound and that our financial systems and accounts deliver the information we need, in association with the bookkeeper, fellow directors and accountant. You will need to have a commitment to our aims, and to combine good independent judgement with a clear vision of what we can achieve. You will need to be able to think creatively and to meet the statutory requirements of a community benefit society. The board meets most months, and meetings are currently at lunchtime during the week – in central Oxford.  The position is not paid, but reasonable expenses can be met. It is preferred if you live within 5 miles of West Oxford. WOCoRe is the community led social enterprise that pioneered the double carbon-cut model: starting in 2009, WOCoRe has leased organisations’ roofs for a peppercorn rent, installed solar PV panels, generated renewable electricity (carbon cut no. 1), sold electricity back to the organisations and the grid, claimed feed-in tariff, and made donations to Low Carbon West Oxford, thereby helping fund work to reduce West Oxford’s carbon footprint further (carbon cut no. 2). WOCoRe was also responsible for the planning of Osney Lock Hydro (OLH) and establishing it as a separate community benefit society in 2013, to operate the first community-owned hydro on the Thames. Plans are in train to transfer the engagements of Osney Lock Hydro back to WOCoRe, so that the two organisations will merge. To find out more, please contact us to arrange an initial informal chat with one of our current Directors.

Wonderful response to latest share offer

With just over a day to go until the close our share offer, the applications to date total £62,500 – a truly phenomenal response!   We can accept up to £127,000 in new investment, so if you are considering investing we are still able to accept more investments.  Don’t forget the deadline for applications is midnight on Monday 23rd November. You can download the share offer and application forms here Please be sure to read the share offer document carefully to ensure that you are fully aware of the risks associated with investing in WOCORE.    

New share offer launched

November share offer As you’ll recall, we launched a share offer this Spring to raise funds to enable us to buy back the solar PV array at Matthew Arnold School.  Thanks to the support of our Members and local community, £143,000 of the £280,000 target was raised in investment. We were able to match this with Resonance short-term loan financing and so buy the installation back from the County Council. We are now looking to raise the funds to replace the short term loan financing. Why now? The Government has just announced that it is withdrawing EIS tax relief from community energy projects on 30th November 2015.  As a result this will be a short and sharp offer closing on Monday 23rd November at midnight. So do please alert all your friends and contacts to this last chance for an EIS-able community renewable energy project! You can read more about the changes to EIS and its impact on investors in this article by Ethex. 

Matthew Arnold project update

The roofing work on the Main Block is all now complete and the PVs are back up and running to join back in with the Science Block array that has been working throughout. We have generated nearly 20,000kWh of solar power since we bought the installation on 1st August.  In total, the project costs have come in at less than we forecast.

Re-roofing underway

As part of the agreement with the school and Oxfordshire County Council to buy back the solar array at Matthew Arnold school, WOCoRe is contributing to the cost of replacing the 50-year-old roof on the main block.  We have appointed James Dunn Roofing and Darke & Taylor to carry out the roofing work, and their teams are working hard to complete the re-roofing during the school holidays.  While the roof is being replaced, the panels situated on this roof will not be generating electricity.  The two teams are working in parallel, with the panels being reinstated at one end while the new tiles are still being laid at the other to reduce reduced generation time. The new roof should last for up to another 50 years, well beyond the life of this project.  

2015 Spring Share Offer

Thank you to everyone who invested in our Spring 2015 Share offer. The share offer is now closed. We anticipate we will be seeking additional investment later this Spring. If you would like to be the first to hear about the the next opportunity to invest in WOCORE please let us know via the contact us form. We have applied for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Advance Assurance from HMRC. EIS tax relief is being withdrawn from community energy in April 2015. If we are approved, this will be one of the last opportunities for investors to benefit from EIS tax relief when supporting community energy.

Matthew Arnold solar array purchased

We are delighted to announce that the purchase of the solar PV array at Matthew Arnold School was successfully completed on 1st August. The timetabling of our purchase was scheduled to co-incide with the change of status of the school to an Academy on 1st June. There was a slight delay to the timetable for the  change to the academy status for the school, so our purchase date was also put back. We’d like to thank Oxfordshire County Council for giving us the opportunity to buy back the roof and Matthew Arnold School for their support of the process. Thanks also to our Members, whose new investment in WOCoRe has made the purchase possible.