Helping communities to thrive

Following the launch of a new bond offer for Empower Community Foundation, Richard O'Brien, corporate finance manager, explores the impact of community energy. 
  • Blog

- 29 March 2022

The last two years have really brought home the importance of supporting communities. In times of need the value of local communities, and just how intrinsic they are to the success of people and nature thriving together, side by side, is always more clearly understood and appreciated. 

Direct impact investment crowdfunding of community owned renewable energy projects is a great ongoing enabler to support UK communities. In particular, such projects help to ensure any surplus profits are directed back into those communities where they are most needed. After all, no one knows communities more than those who live or work within them.  

Since the Triodos Crowdfunding platform was launched in 2018, four community led renewable energy projects have raised direct investment with the bank through crowdfunding investors. These projects have raised millions of pounds to date for community benefit and are committed to continuing to raise more throughout their duration.  

Depending on the community need, this has included funding of community grants to support job creation and enhance job prospects, rehabilitating young people at risk of prison, the creation of facilitates to encourage tourism, as well as funding of food banks and specific support in relation to Covid-19.  

At the height of the pandemic many of these projects managed to release more funding or allocate funding earlier so that communities could receive support as soon as possible. In many instances they used their established networks to identify those most in need quickly and to roll out initiatives to support them. This greatly helped communities that almost immediately felt the impact of Covid-19, providing valuable aid before government and other support came later.  

Empower Community Foundation is a charity that owns two solar parks, one near Salisbury in England and one near Arbroath, in Scotland. The organisation distributes surplus income generated in the projects back to local communities through grant programmes.  

Alex Grayson, trustee of Empower Community Foundation, said: “Building resilience in local communities is what we are set up to do. We want communities to benefit from an acceleration of the transition to a decentralised energy economy.”  

Creating tangible impact is at the heart of Triodos Crowdfunding and when that impact is being created in the heart of communities, many people feel the benefit. This also has a long-lasting effect, so it’s often felt across generations over a substantial amount of time. It is very empowering for everyone involved in these projects, and for all those who benefit from them, to be able to generate clean energy and make a difference in the community at the same time: it really is positive impact in motion and a true win-win.  

Empower is currently seeking crowdfunding investment on the platform, for more information please visit