Cabinet received a report which sought its approval to enter into a strategic partnership with Empower Community Management LLP (EC), a social enterprise that would, as its primary purpose, deliver the installation of solar PVs on residential properties in the city and deliver a community benefit scheme to Peterborough.
The scheme would be the first of its type in the UK and in particular, the first of its kind involving a council.
Councillor Cereste introduced the item and commended officers for bringing forward such an innovative scheme. He further highlighted key points including there being no cost to the home owner for installation; an overview of the criteria for the scheme; the savings which could be realised by the home owner and the bonus payment received after five years; the first pilot scheme which would be rolled out to 1500 homes and if successful, would be rolled out further; the money that both the community and the Council would receive for every 1500 houses, this being in the region of £1m; and the provision of short term up front construction finance that was being provided by the Council and the profits that would be made from that for the city.
Cabinet debated the report and key points raised, along with responses to questions provided by Councillor Cereste, included:
· Councillor North commended the scheme and highlighted the positive community aspects that the scheme would bring, particularly in terms of those individuals who were in fuel poverty in the city and also in terms of environmental issues;
· The scheme had been endorsed by local MPs and the scheme highlighted Peterborough’s innovativeness;
· The first wave was very city centric and it was requested that emphasis be placed on rural communities for the second wave;
· Information on how the scheme could be applied for should be detailed on the Council’s website and the process for application made as simple as possible;
· The financial benefit to the 1500 people, who would benefit from the first phase, would equate to around £6m over the period of the scheme. Going forward, the scheme could be worth in the region of £50-£60m city wide and for residents; and
· The various energy saving schemes that the Council was rolling out, could save each individual person that took part in the region of £640 to £700 per annum. Officers had been requested to put forward a simple list of all of the schemes available for publication on the Council’s website.
Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED to approve:
1. That the Council enters into a strategic partnership agreement with Empower Community Management LLP to enable a first project to deliver solar PV on private residential properties in Peterborough;
2. That the Council enters into a shareholder agreement to become an equal partner in a Community Interest Company with Empower Community Management LLP;
3. That the initial target area be the Green Deal Community Fund area set out in section 4.6 of the report;
4. An intention to roll out the solar PV project from the initial target area to the remainder of the city;
5. That, subject to:
a) Council approving the amendment to the treasury management strategy as set out within the report; and
b) Finalisation of the issues set out at 9.1.7 within the report to the satisfaction of the Executive Director, Resources;
the Council enters into a finance agreement with the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
6. That Council enters into such further agreements with the Community Interest Company, the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and any other body necessary to facilitate the terms of the strategic partnership agreement and solar PV project set out in this report;
7. That Cabinet delegates to the Executive Director, Resources and Director of Governance the ability to finalise any individual matters.
Cabinet also made the following recommendation to Council:
8. Approval of an amendment to the existing treasury management strategy to enable a Special Partnership Vehicle (SPV) between Empower Community Management LLP and Empower Community Foundation to be added to the list of external bodies that the Council is able to undertake capital investment in.
REASONS FOR THE DECISION
To enable a strategic partnership to be entered into with Empower Community to enable the delivery of area wide Solar PV for private residential owners.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED
To do nothing, the Council would lose the significant opportunities devised by the scheme.
To procure a solution on the open market, the Council would need to establish procurement and social enterprise vehicles at significant cost. These are the benefits of partnering with EC.