Still dark days, as the accursed consequences of the Brexit debate continue to unfold.


This opportunity comes courtesy of my favourite sustainable retailer (M&S), one of my favourite NGOs (Energy4All), one of my favourite causes (community energy), and a fantastic investment opportunity. And all under the name of M&S Energy Society.

It’s a wonderfully simple idea. M&S has lots of stores, some of which (nine, in the first instance) are suitable for installing PV arrays. This can be done in a way that will bring substantial community benefits. And all it needs is £1,230,000!

M&S Energy Society was launched two weeks ago, and I’ve been meaning to write about it since then, as I really love this scheme. M&S could just have done the nine stores on its own, using the electricity to make a small contribution to its target of generating 50% of electricity used by M&S in the UK and the Republic of Ireland from renewables by 2020. But a plan gradually emerged to create a new initiative (the Energy Society), in partnership with Energy4All, to involve investors and communities in a completely unique proposition.

Anyone with £100 can be an investor – and the upper limit is £100,000. The rate of return is 5%, which isn’t bad at all when you look at what one can get elsewhere. (Obviously full T&Cs apply, which are available here.)

At the same time, a Community Fund has been set up to support relevant initiatives in the communities around the nine stores, and this will generate significant funds as the costs of the PV arrays are paid off.

So this is a real trail-blazer, providing an example that many other high street companies with suitable roofs could have followed in due course. M&S have managed to get this scheme over the line because it registered before the very significant reduction in Feed-in Tariffs came into place. However, panels are getting lighter, and prices continue to come down all the time, so I hope we will still see many more schemes like this in the future.

So it should be clear by now why something like this is exactly what you need to cheer yourself up! And I’m just hoping that by the time my own (small) investment arrives with the M&S Energy Society the whole scheme won’t be oversubscribed!

PS And please don’t give me any brexcuses for not doing this! Indeed, the whole bloody Brexit mess makes it all the more important to seize these moments of small but significant opportunity to stick it up Nigel Farage – metaphorically speaking, of course!